International  Journal  of  Asian  Social  Science,  2014,  4(3):  407-421 
International  Journal  of  Asian Social  Science 
ISSN(e):  22244441/ISSN(p):  22265139 
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                Ssuna Salim† 
Center  for General  Studies  College  of  Arts and  Sciences,  Universiti  Utara  Malaysia    Sintok  Kedah  Malaysia 

        Syahrul  Faizaz  Abdullah 
Center  for General  Studies  College  of  Arts and  Sciences,  Universiti  Utara  Malaysia    Sintok  Kedah  Malaysia 


The  aim  of  this  study  is  to  analyze  the  contemplative  intelligence,  the  ability  of  the  individual  to essentially  possess  a  knowledge  that  relates  the  knower  to  higher  modes  of  being.  

This  knowledge is  identified  with  shuhud  (vision)  and  ta’ammul  as  one  of  the  most  important  aspects  of  an  Islamic personality  in  the  process  of  knowledge  acquisition  which  if  neglected  will  negatively  affect  the process  knowledge  acquisition.  The  descriptive  analytical  synthetic  descriptive  approach  is  used which  is  mainly  interpretative  in  the  form  of  textual  commentary.    

The  study  defines  and  critically analyzes  Quranic  and  Prophetic  traditions  in  relation  to  what  contemplative  intelligence  is  and  its relation  to  knowledge  acquisition.  The  study  explains  means  and  ways  how  the  contemplative intelligence  should  be  developed  and  what is its  role  in  creating  God-conscious  personalities which will  get  fully  closer  to  Allah  the  Almighty  in  all  their  endeavors  in  order  to  effectively  acquire beneficial  knowledge.  The  study  concludes  by  viewing  the  contemplative  intelligence  as  an indispensable  aspect  of  contemporary  Muslims.  
The  study  advocates  that  all  Muslim  institutions  of learning,  parents,  teachers,  preachers  and  all  levels  of  Muslim  communities  must  have  a  clear understanding  or  at  least  an  exposure  of  this  aspect,  since  it  acts  as  a  drive  to  the  soul  traveling  on the  path  of God  in  this  life and  the  life hereafter.   

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Keywords:  Contemplative  intelligence,  Knowledge  acquisition,  God-consciousness,  Islamic personality,  Vision  (shuhud),  Muslim  intitutions  of  learning. 

           1. INTRODUCTION 
In-spite  of  the  importance  and  the  role  of  a  contemplative  intellect  in  developing  an  Islamic oriented  personality  and  a  God  –conscious  soul  it  has  to  a  greater  extent  been  neglected  by  almost all  circles of  modern  Muslim  societies.  This  therefore,  has been  one  of  the  major  reasons  why  today 
†  Corresponding  author ISSN(e):  2224-4441/ISSN(p):  2226-5139 
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International  Journal  of  Asian  Social  Science,  2014,  4(3):  407-421 
some  learned  Muslims  in  Islam  say  what  they  do  not  practice;  the  learned  men  of  the  mouth,  but with  ignorant  hearts.  Well  as the  Muslims  in  the  past  like  Imam  al  -Ghazali,  al-Imam  al-Shafie,  ibn Sina,  to  mention  but  a  few,  were  instrumental  in  their  contribution  in  various  fields  of  life  due  to the  importance  they  attached  and  gave  to  the  contemplative  intelligence,  through  which  Allah accorded  them  fantastic  understanding  and  appreciation  of  the  teachings  of  al  –Qur’an  which  acted as the  gate  to  excellence  in  other  sciences. 
There  is  no  doubt  that  the  Qur’an  and  Sunnah  are  full  of  explanations  and  comments elucidating  in  clear  terms  encouraging  man  to  always  be  in  constant  remembrance  of  his  Creator, the  sole  cause,  controller  and  sustainer  of  everything,  whose  knowledge  does  not  escape  keven  the minutest  affair  and  care.  It  is  important  to  note  that  the  contemplative intelligence  can  be  looked  at in  terms  of  its  sources;  Qur’an  and  Sunnah,  which  culminate  into  its  development,  and  enforcement which  are  realized  through  numerous  means  and  ways  which  consequently  result  into  a contemplative  soul  or  personality  that  is  characterized  by  traits  recognized  in  form  of praiseworthy  behaviors  and  actions  which  will  view  knowledge  acquisition  as  a  noble  activity  for  the  pleasure  of its  Creator. 

According  to  al-Ghazali,  Allah  the  Almighty  has  not  created  anything  more  esteemed  than  the intellect.  He  reports  the  Prophet  saying  that  the  first  thing  God  created  is  the  intellect.  Allah  the Almighty  said  to  intellect:  come  near  and  it  came  near.  Then  He  said  to  it:  go  back  and  it  went back.  Then  He  said;  By  My  honor  and  glory:  I  have  created  nothing  in  my  sight  more  honorable that  you. 

Through  you  I  take,  through  you  I  give,  through  you  I  give  reward  and  through  you  I  punish.

(Abdullah)–b-Salem  also  narrated  that  the  prophet  at  the  end  of  a  long  sermon  described  the  Throne and  stated  that  the  angels  asked  God:  

O  God  hast  thou  created  anything  greater  than  the  throne?  He said  yes,  intellect.  
They  asked:  How  great  is  it?  He  said:  Alas,  your  intellect  cannot  grasp  it.  Can you  count  the  number  of  sands? 

They  said:  No.  

God  said:  

I  have  created  intellect  in  different  minds as  numerous  as  sands.  Some  have  been  given  one  grain,  some  two,  some  three,  some  four.  (AlGhazzali,  1982) 

Consequently,  al-Ghazali  went  on  to  add  in  his  Ihya  that  the  Prophet  said;  everything  has  got  a weapon  and  the  weapon  of  a  believer  is  intellect.  Everything  has  got  a  ministry  and  the  ministry  of a  man  is  his  intellect.  Everything  has  got  a  support  and  the  support  of  religion  is  intellect, everything  a  missionary  and  the  missionary  of  a  worshipper  is  intellect,  every  amity  has  got  a permanent  house  and  the  basis  of  the  Siddiq’s  is  intellect,  everything  has  got  a  basis  and  the  basis of  the  next  world  is  intellect,  every  journey  has  got  a  tent  for  shelter  and  the  shelter  of  a  believer  is his  intellect. 

Therefore,  when  man  comes  close  to  the  doors  of  religion  and  good  deeds,  he  comes  close  to intellect.  This  made  the  Prophet  to  conclude  that  an  intelligent  man  is  who  obeys  God  although  his face  is  ugly,  his  body  dwarf,  and  his  rank  law  appearance  shabby.  An  ignorant  man  on  the  other hand,  is  he  who  disobeys  God  though  his  appearance  is  beautiful,  his  body  long,  his  conduct  good and  his  speech  fluent.  (Al-Ghazzali,  1982). 

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International  Journal  of  Asian  Social  Science,  2014,  4(3):  407-421 

It  is  important  to  note  that,  Muslim  thinkers  like  ibn  Khaldun,  al  Ghazali,  al-Farabi  and  others have  divided  the  intellect  in  various  categories  depending  on  their  understanding  of  the  concept. One  of  the  divisions  is  the  contemplative  intellect,  the  major  focus  of  the  current  study.      Before  we delve  into  the  sources  of  a  contemplative  intellect,  means  and  ways  of  its  attainment  and  its  effect  o knowledge  acquisition,  it is  of  paramount importance  to  know  what  it denotes.   

Hossein  (1987)  defines  a  contemplative  intellect  as  the  ability  of  the  individual  to  essentially possess  a  knowledge  that  relates  the  knower  to  higher  modes  of  being.  This  knowledge  is  identified with  shuhud  (vision)  and  ta’ammul  (literally,  to  regard  attentively)  and  is  related  to  tafakkur (meditation).   

On  the  other  hand,  al-Ghazali  in  his  Ihya  Ulum-Din  refers  to  the  contemplative  intelligence  as tafakkur  (meditation).  He  describes  it  as  the  keeping  of  the  mind  towards  Him  who  keeps  watch and  to  keep  all  thoughts  engaged  to  Him.  Al-Ghazali  further  elaborates  that  meditation  is  a  state  of mind  that  raises  an  action  on  bodily  limbs  and  heart.  In  this  state  of  mind  the  heart  turns  towards the  great Watcher  and  it is  kept engaged  in  His  thoughts  and  attributes. Al-Ghazali  continues  to  explain  that,  meditation  is  a  state  of  mind  and  m’arifah;  which  simply means  the  knowledge  that  God  watches  the  state  of  mind,  knows  its  secrets,  sees  its  actions  and well  knows  what  each  man  does.  In  this  case,  ma’arifah  is  the  fruit  of  the  state  of  mind  that  raises an  action  on  bodily  limbs  and  heart. 

Bruno  (2006)  is  of  the  view  that  there  exist  a  two-  fold  dimension  of  human  intelligence,  one he  termed  syllogistic  power  and  the  other  contemplative  power.  He  elucidates  that  syllogistic power  is  the  ability  to  make  algorithms  and  to  produce  new  true  statements  from  previous  true statements.  Bruno  further  urges  that  besides  the  syllogistic  power,  man  also  has  the  contemplative power,  which  he  described  as  the  ability  to  capture  and  contemplate  truth.  As  human  beings,  adds Bruno,  we  must  keep  the  two-fold  dimension  of  human  intelligence,  by  striking  a  balance  between reason  and contemplation. 
It  is  interesting  to  note  that  Ibn Khaldun (1958/1980)  discuses  contemplative  intelligence  presenting Sufi’s  view,  he  observes  that  this  applies  to  divine  worship,  with  complete  devotion  to  God,  and aversion  to  the  false  spender  of  the  world,  abstinence  from  pleasure,  property  and  position  to  which the  great  mass  aspires  and  retirement  from  the  world  into  solitude  for  divine  worship.  Ibn  Khaldun further  observes  that  these  were  general  among  the  men  around  Muhammad  (PBUH)  and  the  early Muslims.  He  elaborates;  exertion,  retirement  and  Zdikr  exercises  are  as  a  rule  followed  by  the removal  of  veil  (kashf)  of  sensual  perception.   
Once  the  spirit  turns  from  external  sense  perception  to  inner  perception  the  veil  is  removed then  the  sense  weakens  and  the  spirit  grow  strong  and  it  gains  predominance  being  assisted  by  the Zdikr.  Now  knowledge  turns  to  vision  after  the  sensual  perception  (kashf)  is  removed  in  view  of that,  the  soul  realizes  it’s  essential  existence.  At  this  moment,  the  spirit  is  ready  for  the  sciences  of divine  presence  and  it  grasps  the  essence  of  its  true  character  and  draws  close  to  the  highest  sphere of  angels.   

Although  Hossein  Nasr,  Ibn  Khaldun,  Bruno,  and  al–Ghazali  employed  different  ways  and terminologies  to  mean  contemplative  intelligence  in  their  definitions,  the  main  trait  of  a contemplative  intelligence  is  still  clearly  manifested,  which  is  none  other  than  keeping  the  soul  and 
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International  Journal  of  Asian  Social  Science,  2014,  4(3):  407-421 
the  thoughts  of  mind continuously  engaged  to  the  Supreme  Being,  which  in  turn  will  be  in  full control  and  guidance  of  the  heart  and  bodily  limbs  consequently  manifesting  praiseworthy  actions and  words.  

Hossein  (1987)  asserts  that  the  Qur’an  is  the  major  source  of  contemplative  intelligence  in Islamic  spirituality.  Allah  constantly  refers  to  it  and  commands  man  to  contemplate  the  bounties  of the  universe  and  their  divine  prototypes.  Thus,  the  essential  character  of  Islamic  spirituality  lends  a contemplative  atmosphere  to  all  the  authentic  manifestations  of  Islam,  including  its  sacred  art  and causes  the  soul of  the  Muslim  to  have  a  propensity  towards contemplation.   Allah  says  in  the  Qur’an: 

Behold!  In  the  creation  of  the  heavens  and  earth,  and  the  alteration  of night  and  day,  there  are  indeed  Signs  for  men  of  understanding.  A  man who  remembers  Allah,  standing,  sitting  and  lying  down  on  their  sides and  contemplate  the  (wonders  of)  creation  in  the  heavens  and  earth (with  the  saying)  “our  Lord  not  for  naught  hath  Thou  created  (all)  this! 1 Glory  to  thee!  Give  us  salvation  from  chastisement of  the  fire  (Abdullah, 1987). 

It  is  apparent  that  the  Qur’an  is  the  major  guide  and  motivator  to  the  contemplative intelligence.  A  reflective  mind  will  sight  creation  as  a  great  sign  of  the  Supreme  Being.  The changes  of  night  and  day  are  not  something  that  is  made  to  pass,  but  something  that  conveys meaning  full of  wisdom  to  men  of  understanding.    

This  in  turn  will  cultivate  a  sense  of  continuous  engagement  of  the  heart  and  the  mind  to  the Divine  Reality  in  all  situations  and  circumstances,  pondering  the  wonders  of  heaven  and  earth  and decisively  conclude  that  the  wonderful  creation  is  not  for  sake  of  it  or  a  dissipate  of  time  but  a principle  guide  to  men  whose  reflective  understanding  seek  glory  and  deliverance  of  their  Lord. 
As  a  consequence,  Hossein  (1987)  further  adds  that,  throughout  the  Qur’an  the  injunctions  to contemplate  God’s  wisdom  in  creation  as  well  as  met  cosmic  reality  is  followed  by  injunctions  to act correctly  and  according  to  the  principles derived  from  that  wisdom.   

The  Qur´an  (al–Baqarah:  164)  again  describes  the  traits  of  the  soul  that  reflect  its  Lord thus:   

In  the  creation  of  the  heavens  and  the  earth:  in  the  alteration  of  night  and  the  day; in  the  sailing  of  the  ships  through  the  ocean  for  the  profit  of  mankind;  in  the  rain which  Allah  sends  down  from  the  skies  and  the  life  which  he  gives  there  with that  is  dead;  in  the  beasts  of  all  kinds  that  he  scatters  through  the  earth;  in  the change  of  winds,  and  the  clouds  which  they  trail  like  their  slaves  between  the  sky and  the  earth;-  (here)  indeed  are  signs  for  a  people  that  are  wise. 

1All  the  Quranic  verses  translation  in  this  article  were  taken    from  Abdulla  Yusuf  Ali  1987  version.   

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International  Journal  of  Asian  Social  Science,  2014,  4(3):  407-421 

The  above  verse  presents  a  number  of  facets  of  daily  life,  which  most  people  take  for  granted. 

Some  even  perceive  it  as  a  natural  phenomenon  that  must  repeat  itself  therefore  their  attention  is not  at  all  attracted  to  it.  

To  them,  it  is  no  more  than  a  kind  of  automatic  natural  changes  that  must occur  to  designate  their  life,  which  ends  with  their  death.  
On  the  other  hand,  men  of  reflection construe  these  as  wonderful signs  of  the  Supreme  Being.     They  understand  from  it  the  unity  of  Lordship  that  is  manifested  in  the  unity  of  designs  in  the widest  diversity  of  nature,  full  of  signs  of  beauty,  power  and  utility  to  man  him-self  which  in  turn appeal to  his  own  intelligence  and  wisdom. 

From  the  above  Quranic  verse,  Hossein  (1987)  enlightens  that  meditation  by  nature  lies  within the  Islamic  revelation  and  constitutes  its  essence.  He  observes  that  the  unitary  principle  of  Islam does  not  permit  a  contemplative  intelligence  to  be  crystallized  as  a  separate  organization  outside the  matrix  by  the  injunctions  of  the  divine  law  (Sharia),  it  had  to  remain  as  an  inner  dimension  of that  law  and  institutionally  as  an  organization  integrated  into  the  Islamic  social  pattern  and inseparable  from  it.  

Consequently,  Hossein  Nasr  concludes  that  for  men  and  women in Islam, the contemplative  life  lies  not outside  but  within  the  active  norms  of  life  specified  by  the  (Shariah).   

In  al-Ra’ad  28  Allah  further  describes the  sort of  a  reflective  soul thus:   

“Those  who  believe,  and  whose  hearts  find  satisfaction  in  the remembrance  of  Allah:  for  without  doubt  in  the  remembrance of  Allah do heats  find  satisfaction”    

The  remembrance  of  Allah  is  an  internal  activity  taking  place  in  a  person’s  mind,  heart  and soul,  being  illuminated  by  the  individual’s  inner  spiritual  experience,  by  turning  to  Allah,  that  light or  experience  will come  and  the  soul  will gain  satisfaction  from  it. 

An-Nur  37  clearly  states:   

“By  men  whom  neither  trade  nor  sale  can  divert  from  the  remembrance of  Allah,  nor  from  regular  prayer,  nor  from  paying  Zakat.  Their  (only) fear  is  for  the  Day  when  hearts  and  eyes  will be  turned  about”   

In  this  verse  Allah  lays  down  emphasis  that  a  true contemplative  soul  will  not  be  destructed  by richness  or  children  from  being  devoted  to  the  remembrance  of  its  Lord.  If  the  opposite  happens  it is  the  soul  that  stands  to  lose.  But  a  true  contemplative  individual  cannot  stand  such  a  loss,  as  his major  focus  is  always  the  life  after  death. 

In  al-Ahzab  35  Allah  states  thus: 

  …for  men  and  women  who  engage  much  in  remembrance,  for  them Allah  has  prepared  forgiveness  and  great  reward”  

A  special  reward  and forgiveness  is  promised  by  Allah  not  only  to  men  but  also  to  women  as there  exist  no  discrimination  between  sexes  to  Allah  as  far  as righteousness  is  concerned,  both  will  be  rewarded  accordingly  due  to 

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their  continuous  engagement  in  Allah’s  remembrance.  Nothing  in  this earthly  life  will divert a  reflective  mind  from  remembrance  of  its  Lord.   

Al-Munafiqun  9  states:   

O  ye  who  believe  let  not  your  riches  or  your  children  divert  you  from the  remembrance  of  Allah,  if  any  act  thus,  surely  they  are  the  losers”  

In another  verse  Allah  says  

“Allah  has  revealed  (from  time  to  time)  the most  beautiful  message  in  form  of  a  book,  consistent  with  itself  (yet) repeating  (its  teachings  in  various  aspects):  

The  skins  of  those  who  fear their  Lord  tremble:  Threat;  then  their  skins  and  their  hearts  to  soften  to the  remembrance  of  Allah.  Such  is  the  guidance  of  Allah:  He  guides therewith  whom  He  pleases,  but  such  as  Allah  leaves  to  stray,  can  have none  to  guide. 

Means  to  Attain  a  Contemplative  Intelligence 

Az-Zumar: 23  states: 

Allah  has  sent  down  the  best  statement:  a  consistent  Book  wherein  is reiteration.  The  skins  shiver  therefrom  of  those  who  fear  their  Lord; then their  skins  and  their  hearts  relax  at  the  remembrance  of  Allah  .  That  is the  guidance  of  Allah  by  which  He  guides  whom  He  wills.  And  one whom Allah  leaves astray  –  for  him  there  is  no  guide. 

Consequently,  Quranic  recitation  is  one  of  means  how  to  attain  closeness  to  Allah.  Therefore, it  acts  as  a  motivating  drive  to  the  soul  that  constantly  meditates  its  creator.  When  these  recitations are  heard  the  skin  of  a  contemplative  intelligence  trembles  and  its  heart  softens  to  the  remembrance of  its  God.  Allah  describes  such  scenery  as  guidance  that  He  grants  to  people  He  has  chosen,  some He  leaves  to  stray  and  never  to  be  guided.  Guidance  is  this  case  is  equated  to  the  remembrance  of Allah.   

The  process  of  contemplation  to  the  soul  immersed  in  the  remembrance  of  Divine  being  is  a non-ceasing  act,  in  fact,  it keeps  this  in  mind  at  all  times.  

Allah  says:   

“And  celebrate  the  name  of  thy  Lord  morning  and  evening,  and  part  of the  night  prostrate  thyself  to  Him;  And  glorify  Him,  a  long  night through.  As  to  these  they  love  the  fleeting  life,  and  put  away  behind them  a  Day  (that  will be)  hard”  (Al-Insan: 25-27). 

This  has  an  implication  that,  a  meditating  soul  celebrates  the  praises  of  its  Lord  at  all  times; morning,  evening  and  even  at  night  when  others  are  sleeping.  It  sacrifices  some  of  its  time  for resting  for  the  glorification  of  its  Master,  deeming  the  Last  Day,  the  most  important  and  precious thing  worth  struggling  for  in  the  limited  life  given  by  the  Lord  to  attain  His  eternal  pleasure  in  the hereafter. 

Remembrance  of  Allah  is  a  praise-worthy  feature  of  the contemplative  intelligence.  Hence,  a soul  that  overlooks  its  creator  will  go  astray  as  Satan  becomes  its  comrade  and  ultimately  Hell  fire will be  their  abode.  

Az-Zumar: 22  states:   

Is  one  whose  heart  Allah  has  opened  to  Islam,  so  that  he  has  received light  from  Allah,  (No  better  than  one  hard  heated)?  Woe  to  those  whose 

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hearts  are  hardened  against  the  remembrance  of  Allah!  They  are manifested  wondering  (in  error)!  Constant  communion  with  Allah  will surely  guard  the  soul  against  its  arch-  enemy  Satan.  But  whoever  stops thinking  about  his  creator,  Allah  will  make  Satan  his  close  acquaintance and  at  last  both  will end  up  in  Hellfire.   

Az-Zukhruf: 36  also  states:   

“If  anyone  withdraws  himself  from  remembrance  of  the  Most  Gracious, we  appoint  for  him  a  Satan,  to  be  an  intimate  companion  to  him”   

Al-Jinn  17  again  states; 

“That  we  may  try  them  by  that  (means).  But  if  any  turn  away  from  the remembrance  of  his  Lord,  he  will  cause  him  to  undergo  ever-growing chastisement” 

Without  doubt  the  holy  Prophet  (s.a.w)  serves  as  an  excellent  example  to  be  followed  chosen by  Allah  to  teach,  guide  and  lead  man-kind  to  the  straight  path.  Even  before  the  Prophet  was commissioned  as  a  prophet  he  used  to  retreat  to  the  cave  of  Hira,  pondering  about  his  Creator  and the  chaotic  life  lead  by  his  people  ignorant  of  their  Lord.  After  being  commissioned,  the  Prophet officially  opened  the  door  for  meditation  to  his  Lord  thus  empowering  his  contemplative intelligence.   

Al-Muzzammil  2-3,  one  of  the  earliest  chapters  revealed.  
Allah  addressed  his  messenger  and instructed  him  thus:   

“Stand  to  prayer  by  night,  but  not  all  night,  half  of  it  or  a  little  less,  or  a little  more  and  recite  the  Qur’an  in  slow  measured  rhythmic  tones” 

In  the  same  chapter  6-8  Allah  further  states:     

“Truly  the  rising  by  night  is  a  time  when  impression  is  more  keen  and speech  more  certain  –  True  there  is  for  thee  by  day  prolonged occupation  with  ordinary  duties,  but  keep  in  remembrance  the  name  of thy  Lord  and  devote  thyself  to  Him  wholeheartedly”   
The  major  subject  matter  of  this  third  chapter  to  be  revealed  to  the  Prophet  was  the  importance of  prayers  and  humility  in  spiritual  life.  The  Prophet  was  instructed  as  early  as  the  beginning  of revelation  to  establish  prayers  in  the  middle  of  the  night,  although  he  had  yet  to  receive  the  order for  the  canonical  five  daily  regular  prayers.  Actually,  the  acts  of  worship  mentioned  in  the aforementioned  verses  constitute  some  of  the  acts  that  empower  the  contemplative  intelligence  we shall  see  later  on. 

Abu  Huraira  in  Sahih  Muslim,  (the  Book  pertaining  the  remembrance  of  Allah)  reported Allah’s  messenger  (s.a.w)  as saying  that  Allah  the  exalted  and  glorious  states:   

I  am  near  to  the  thought  of  my  servant  as  he  thinks  about  me,  and  I  am with  him  as  he  remembers  me.  And  if  he  remembers  me  in  his  heart  I also  remember  him  in  My  heart,  and  if  he  remembers  Me  in  assembly  I remember  him  in  assembly  (better  than  his  remembrance),  and  if  he draws  near  Me  by  the  cubit  I  draw  near  him  by  the  space  (covered  by) two  hands.  And  if  he  walks  towards  Me,  I  rush  towards  him”  (Muslim). 

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International  Journal  of  Asian  Social  Science,  2014,  4(3):  407-421

This  has  an  implication  that  Allah’s  assistance  depends  on  a  person  trust in  Lord. 

Therefore,  man  must  have  firm  trust  in  God  in  order  to  get  Divine  grace.  

The  holy  Prophet (s.a.w)  asked  angel  Jibril about Ihsan  (doing  good).  

Jibril replied  that:   

“Ihsan  means  to  worship  God  in  such  a  way  as  if  you  are seeing  Him” 

The  Prophet  then  said:   

“worship  Allah  in  such  a  way  that  you  actually  see  Him.  If  you  think that  you  are  not  seeing  Him,  then  think  that  He  is  seeing  you,”  
(40 Hadith  of  Imam  Nawawi,  Hadith  2) 

An-Nisa´a  1  states  that: 

“…Allah  watches you…”.   

Allah  watching  over  you  here  has  an  implication  that  man  should  keep  his  thought  in  mind  as if  he  is  seeing  God.  The  best  way  man  can  lead  himself  is  taking  account  by  watching  over  his deeds  with  wisdom  and  great  care. 

The  great saint Jun-Nun  as reported  by  Al-Ghazzali (1982)  was  asked  what  thing  people  get paradise  for?  He  replied  five  things; steadfastness  without laxity,  Ijtihad  where  there  is  no  mistake, deep  meditation  of  Allah  open  and  secret,  waiting  for  death  after  being  prepared  for  it and  taking account of  oneself  before  Allah  takes  account of  him.  All the  five  things  given  by  Jun-Nun  for which  people  will be  admitted  to  Paradise  are  essentially  major characteristics  of  the  contemplating –meditating  intelligence.  It is  only  a  pondering  soul that  is  able  to  achieve  this  as a  result of  its frequent,  sincere  and  devoted  service  to  its creator.  On  the  other  hand,  these  five  things  describe what  a  contemplative  intelligence  is  and  they  are  features of  successful knowledge  acquisition process. 

Abu  Darda´  (r.  a)  narrated  that:   
the  apostle  of  Allah  asked  a  group  of  his  companions  that  may  I  tell  you the  best  act,  highly  loved  by  Allah  and  it  will  raise  you  to  the  highest position  to  your  Lord,  and  it  is  better  than  spending  gold  and  silver  in the  way  of  Allah,  and  superior  to  facing  enemies  in  the  battle  field, where  by  you  either  cut  off  their  necks  or  they  cut  yours?  

The companions  replied  

“yes,  what  is  it  O  messenger  of  Allah? ”

The  Prophet said: 

“Dhikrullah”  remembrance  of  Allah.(Sunan  Tirmiz  and  Sunan  Ibn Majah) 

Initially,  the  companions  were  aware  that spending  their  wealth  and  fighting  in  way  of  Allah were  among  the  noblest  acts  that  automatically  leads  them  to  Salvation.  

However,  they  were astounded  to  hear  that  there  was something  else  superior  to  that.  This  Hadith  portrays  the  true  and praiseworthy  position  a  reflective  soul occupies in  front of  its  Lord. 

Abu  Musa  (r.  a)  reports  that  the  Prophet  (s.a.w)  said:   

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International  Journal  of  Asian  Social  Science,  2014,  4(3):  407-42

“The  difference  between  people  who  remember  their  God  and those  who  do  not  is  like  the  dead  and  the  living”(Sahih Bukhari).   

The  simile  used  by  the  Prophet  in  comparing  between  the  living  and  the  dead  illustrates  clearly the  position  of  remembrance  to  other  forms  of  worship.  Of  course,  a  dead  person  whose  actions  are insufficient  to  save  him  from  the  wrath  of  God  cannot  be  compared  to  the  living,  still  standing  a chance  of  turning  towards  righteousness.   

Muadh  bin  Jabal reported  that  the  messenger  of  Allah  said  that:   
“The  dwellers  of  Paradise  will  not  have  any  regret  whatsoever  except the  period  they  spent during  their  lives  without  remembering Allah.(Tabrani,  12-513).     

In  another  Hadith  Muadh  bin  Jabal  reports  the  messenger  of  Allah  as  saying:   

“There  is  no  work  done  by  a  human  being  that  will  save  him  from  the punishments  in  the  grave  like  remembrance  of  Allah  (Therefore,  an  hour of  meditation  is  better  than  sixty  years  of  acts  of  worship”  (Tirmizi).   

In  this  Hadith,  it  is  clear  that  the  reward  of  meditation  for  an  hour  is  60  years  greater  than  the reward  of  another  act of  worship. 

Consequently,  al-R’ad  28  concludes:   
“Those  who  believe,  and  whose  hearts  find  satisfaction  in  the remembrance  of  Allah:  for  without  doubt  in  the  remembrance  of  Allah do  hearts  find  satisfaction”   
In  order  to  achieve  a  contemplative  stance  a  person  must  struggle  through  numerous  activities in  form  of  Ibadah  (worship)  ,that  should  be  practiced  regularly,  for  Allah  created  a  human  being and  endowed  him  the  gift of  the  intellect  that  exercises  freedom  of  choice.  

Ad-Dahr: 3  states:     

“We  showed  him  the  way:  whether  he  be  grateful  or ungrateful”   

Also  ash-Shams  7-10  states: 

By  the  soul,  and  the  proportion  and  the  order  given  it.  And  its inspiration  as  to  its  wrong  and  its  right:  Truly  he  succeeds  that  purifies it.  And  he  fails  that  corrupts  it”  

Thus  man  was  gifted  by  Allah  with  the faculty  of  reason  in  addition  to  being  shown  the  way  through  revelation from  his  Lord.  It  is  up  to  man  to  either  accept  the  guidance  and  join  the company  of  the  blessed  or  reject  it and  end  up  into  the  blazing  fire. 

Accordingly,  Islam  does  not  discriminate  between  sexes.  All  human  beings  irrespective  of their  race,  originality,  colour  of  skin  and  status,  are  equal  before  their  Lord.  The  best  among  them in  the  face  of  Allah  is  who  discharges  his  duties  best,  and  no  injustice  will  be  meted  out  to  any  and all  will be  recompensed  according  to  what  they  earned.  

Al-Hujrat  13  states: 

O  mankind  We  created  you  from  a  single  (pair)  of  male  and  female,  and made  you  into  nations  and  tribes,  that  ye  may  know  each  other  (not  that ye  may  despise  (each  other).  Verily  the  most  honored  of  you  in  the  sight 

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International  Journal  of  Asian  Social  Science,  2014,  4(3):  407-421 
of  Allah  is  (he  who  is)  the  most  righteous  of  you.  And  Allah  has  full knowledge  and  well acquainted  (with  all things).    

Al-Ahzab  35  states:   

For  Muslim  men  and  women,  for  believing  men  and  women,  for  devout men  and  women,  for  true  men  and  women,  for  men  and  women  who  are patient  and  constant,  for  men  and  women  who  humble  themselves,  for men  and  women  who  give  in  charity,  for  men  and  women  who  fast,  for men  and  women  who  guard  their  chastity,  and  for  men  and  women  who engage  much  in  Allah’s  remembrance  for  them  Allah  has  prepared forgiveness  and  a  great    reward”  

This  verse  describes  what  a  true believer  in  Allah  is,  pointing  out  the  necessary  spiritual  practices  to purify  the  soul to  build  up  the  contemplative  intellect. 

To  achieve  this,  one  needs  to  submit  to  the  will  of  Allah  as  an  essential  foundation  for  the attainment  of  intimacy  with  the  Lord.  This  applies  to  both  men  and  women.  Then  a  number  of things  must  be  done  in  order  to  gain  nearness  to  God  and  His  pleasure.  Among  them  the  verse emphasizes  to  have  faith  hope  and  trust  in  Allah,  this  in  turn  results  into  devotion  in  His  service  in practical  life,  love,  practice  of  truth  in  thought  and  intention,  words  and  deeds.  This  generates patience,  constancy  in  suffering,  right  endeavour,  humility,  avoidance  of  arrogance  and  superiority, which  eventually  cultivate  a  desire  to  obtain  nearness  to  God  thus  constant remembrance.   

The  verse  rewinds  by  mentioning  men  and  women  who  not  only  engage  in  the  remembrance  of God  but  it  added  an  adjective  “much”  which  was  not  used  in  case  of  other  spiritual  practices mentioned  in  the  verse’  which  are  naturally  canonical  in  Islam.  This  in  clear  terms  shades  light  on the  elevated  position  of  Zikrullah,  the  distinguishing  feature  of  the  contemplative  intelligence yarning  for  true  knowledge. 

Obviously,  Islam  does  not  hold  an  insane  person  responsible  for  his  deeds;  therefore  the expression  employed  by  the  Prophet  was  to  accentuate  the  magnitude  of  meditation  and  to encourage  his  followers  to  engage  in  it  invariably.  This  implies  that  a  contemplative  intelligence  is not  automatically  acquired,  but  there  are  a  series  of  well  -maintained  spiritual  activities  to  be constantly  and  devoutly  practiced.  These  practices are  within  the  fold  of  the  Islamic  law  or  Shariah, some  are  canonical  while  others  optional  also  practiced  by  the  Prophet,  the  exemplary  model  of  the reflective  soul.   

This  coincides  with  Hossein  (1987)    who  once  more  give  details  that  as  far  as  the  operative and  practical  aspect  of  man’s  spiritual  life  are  concerned,  the  perfect  and  exemplary  relation between  contemplation  and  action  is  to  be  found  for  every  Muslim  in  the  life  of  the  holy  Prophet, who  is  of  necessity  the  model  for  every  form  of  spiritual  life  in  Islam.   
Hence  there  is  need  to  study  the  life  of  the  Prophet  both  before  the  beginning  of  his  prophetic mission  and  during  the  twenty  -three  years  as  a  prophet.  This  is  because  both  periods  were characterized  by  intense  devotion  to  contemplation.   

No  doubt  the  Prophet  (PBUH)  spent  much  time  in  solitude  while  at  the  same  time  transformed human  history  through  a  series  of  actions  of  such  far-reaching  consequences  that  cannot  be  gauged in  ordinary  human  terms  and  is  beyond  the  conception  of  imagination. 

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International  Journal  of  Asian  Social  Science,  2014,  4(3):  407-421 
Hossein  (1987)  concludes  that  the  contemplative  life  lies  by  nature  within  the  Islamic revelation  and  constitutes  its  essence.  The  vitally  principle  of  Islam,  could  not  permit contemplation  to  become  crystallized  as  a  separate  social  organization  outside  the  matrix  molded by  the  injections  of  the  divine  law  of  Sharia.  It  had  to  remain  as  an  inner  dimension  of  that  law  and institutionalized  as  an  organization  integrated  into  the  Islamic  social  pattern  and  inseparable  from it. Goodness  of  character  comes  about  through  Divine  -grace  and  completeness  of  innate disposition,  where  by  man  is  born  and  created  with  a  sound  intellect  and  good  character  and  is preserved  from  the  powers  of  desire  and  anger,  thus  man  becomes  learned  without an  instructor  and disciplined  without  being  subject  to  any  discipline.  This  is  in  the  case  of  Prophets  (may  the blessings  of  Allah  be  upon  them  all).  On  other  hand  certain  things  that  exist  in  man’s  nature  and disposition  urges  al-Ghazali,  are  obtained  through  acquisition.  

Some  children  for  example  are created  truthful,  generous  and  courageous,  while  in  others  these  qualities  can  only  be  acquired through  habituation  and  association  with  those  who  possess  them,  and  also  thought  education. 

Therefore,  the  acquisition  of  these  traits  of  character  is  through  means  of  spiritual  struggle  and exercise,  whereby  the  soul  is  constrained  to  perform  the  actions,  which  necessarily  proceed  from the  traits  desired.  

For  example,  a  person  who  wishes  to  acquire  the  quality  of  generosity  must oblige  himself  to  generous  thing.  (Al-Ghazali,  1995). 
The  principle  of  Divine  unity  (al-tauheed)  asserts  Osman  (1991)  constitutes  the  central message  of  Islam,  which  is  held  by  the  Muslims  of  all  ages  to  be  the  highest  as  well  as  the  ultimate goal  of  all  intellectual  pursuits.  There  is  no  doubt  the  principle  of  tauhid  constitutes  the  main entrance  to  the  religion  of  Islam.  This  is  why  the  whole  Mekkan  period  of  13  years  was characterized  by  the  Prophet’s  concentration  on  its  teaching.  It  is  by  the  recognition  of  this principle  that  one  submits  to  the  will  of  Allah  and  attains  salvation.  

Thus,  Jabir  narrates  that  the Prophet  said  that  the  best  mode  of  remembrance  of  Allah  is  by  uttering  Kalima  there  is  god  but Allah,  and  the  mode  of  supplication  is  saying  Praise be  to  Allah. 

Convinced  of  the  struggle  of  the  soul  to  attain  reflection,  Hossein  (1987)  enlarged  that  the second  and  third  parts  of  the  call  to  prayer  (adhan)  consisting  of  the  phrases:  hurry  to  prayer,  hurry to  salvation,  is  the  highest  form  of  contemplation  and  unity  that  leads  to  salvation  or  deliverance  of the  soul  from  all  bondage  and  imperfection  and  this  in  turn  leads  to  correct  action.  

He  further elucidates  that,  without  prayer  or  contemplation  one  cannot  be  in  a  state  of  grace  or  goodness  and without being  good  one  cannot do  good.   

Allah  in  the  Al-Muminun  1-11  specifically  confirms  salvation  to  the  believers  and enumerates the  necessary  steps  in  form  of  spiritual  practices  to  achieve  this  success.  

Allah  says; Successful  indeed  are  the  believer,  those  who  humble  themselves  in their  prayers;  Who  avoid  vain  talks,  who  are  active  in  giving  Zakat;  who guard  their  modesty,  except  with  those  joined  to  them  in  the  marriage bond,  or  (the  captives)  whom  their  right  hand  possess,  for  (in  their  case), they  are  free  from  blame,  but  those  whose  desire  exceed  those  limits  are transgressors;  –  Those  who  faithfully  observe  their  trusts  and  their 

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International  Journal  of  Asian  Social  Science,  2014,  4(3):  407-421
covenants;  And  who  (strictly)  guard  their  prayers:  –  Those  will  the  heirs, who  will inherit Paradise:  They  will dwell  their-in  (forever). 
It  should  be  noted  that  not  only  the  five  daily  prayers  that  act  as  the  building  block  of  the contemplative  intelligence,  also  nafl  (sunnah)  prayers  are  important  is  this  aspect.  More  especially night  prayers  (tahajjud)  are  of  great  importance.  

In  Muzzammil  2-4  and  6-8  quoted  earlier,  the Prophet  was  instructed  by  Allah  to  stand  for  prayer  by  night,  half  of  it  or  a  little  less  and  recite  alQura´n  in  slow  measured  rhythmic  tones.  

This  is  because  the  rising  by  night  is  a  time  when impression  is  more-  keen  and  speech  more  certain.  This  kept  the  holy  Prophet  devoted wholeheartedly  in  the  constant  remembrance  of  his  Lord.   
On  this  Hossein  (1987)  elaborates  that,  without  prayer  or  contemplation  one  cannot  be  in  a state  of  grace  or  decency  and  without  being  good  one  cannot  do  good,  thus  acquisition  of  useful and  beneficial  knowledge  will  not  be  achieved  .  This  is  because  correct  actions  depend  on  the correct  mode  of  being  which  in  turn  issues  from  the  correct  relation  with  the  source  of  all  existence through  prayer,  which  is  in  its  acclaimed  mode  is  pure  contemplation. 

Hossein  (1987)  again  stresses  that  the  prayer  and  recitation  of  the  holy  Qura´n  exist  side  by side  and  act  as  second  nucleus  after  tauhid  in  the  development  of  a  reflective  intelligence.  This  is why  Allah  commanded  the  Prophet  to  stand  in  prayers  at  night  and  recite  Al-Quran  in  slow measured  rhythmic  tones.  Thus,  reciting  the  Qura´n  softens  the  heart  of  the  reader,  let  alone  being highly  rewarded  whether  the  reader  understands  what  he  reads  or  not,  although  the  reward  is greater  for  those  who  understand  the  meanings  and  its  effect  on  them  will  be  far  reaching. 

Consequently,  Quranic  recitation  forms  one  of  the  major  oral  modes  of  remembrance  of  Allah,  an engine  to  successful beneficial  knowledge  acquisition.   
The  holy  Prophet  (peace  be  upon  him)  said  that:   

“Whoever  recites  and  memorizes  al-Qur´an  and  follows  the  low-full  in  it and  avoids  its  prohibitions,  Allah  will  admit  him  to  paradise,  and  he  will be  allowed  to  intercede  for  ten  people  from  his  kin  who  are  destined  to hell  and  Allah  will accept his  intercession.  (Tirmiz  and  ibn  Majah).   

It  is  important  to  point  out  that  a  meditation  process  takes  various  forms,  which  can  be  divided into  practices  and  words.  Practices  like  zakat,  fasting,  hajj,  prayers,  although  these  practices involve  some  supplications  in  form  of  words,  they  are  mainly  practical  in  nature.  

The  second  form is  that  of  words  this  is  in  the  case  of  al-Qur’an  and  the  recitation  of  Kalima  Shahadah.  

All  the above  forms  are  to  be  found  in  a  contemplative  intelligence,  whose  life  is  nothing  but  full  of nearness  to  Allah  in  both  private  and  public  life. 
All  the  above  clearly  show  that  love  is  preeminently  reflected  by  deeds,  which  take  the  form  of obedience  to  the  Lord  as  this  may  be  exhibited  by  the  quality  of  higher  virtue.  The  whole  purpose of  the  teaching  of  al-Qur’an  is  to  educate  man  concerning  how  to  please  God.  For  it  is  by  pleasing Him  that  one  secures  within  oneself  a  state  of  being  at  rest.  It  is  that  state  that  man  returns  to  the Lord.  In  the  final  analysis  the  most  important  fact  of  life  is  man’s  meeting  with  his  Lord.  
Hence, this  prospect  of  accounting  will  enable  him  to  live  and  act  in  such  a  manner  that  his  life  would reflect  the  divinely  ordained  injections. 

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International  Journal  of  Asian  Social  Science,  2014,  4(3):  407-421 
Hossein  (1987)  observes  that  one  of  the  basic  problems  of  modern  man  is  the  divorce  between contemplation  and  action.  This  has  resulted  into  the  loss  of  balance  between  these  two  primordial modes  of  human  existence,  hence,  the  loss  of  the  center,  thus  dispensing  action  independent  of  the vision  and  message  from  God.This  in  turn  renders  human  action  meaningless.  Nasr  concludes  by asserting  that  there  is  a  need  to  turn  to  the  doctrinal  and  practical  teachings  of  Islamic  tradition  to solve  this  problem  by  going  back  to  the  message  of  Islam  concerning  the  contemplative  and  active lives  for  man  to  follow  in  order  to  achieve  salvation  in  this  life  and  the  hereafter. 

There  are  external  features  by  which  a  contemplative  personality  can  be  distinguished.  When  a person  draws  near  to  His  Lord,  he  will  lead  a  life  according  to  His  dictates,  thus,  his  life  will  be  full of  praise-worthy  conducts.  In  numerous  places  in  the  Qur’an  Allah  clearly  points  out  these  traits. 

Al  Ahzab  35  mentions  these  traits,  thus  submitting  our  will  to  Allah  will  lead  to  all  the  virtues  in this  verse.  These  virtues include  submitting  to  Allah  being  on  top  of  them,  believing  in  Allah,  being devoted  to  Him,  being  truthful,  being  patient  and  constant,  being  humble,  giving  charity,  fasting, guarding  chastity,  and  engaging  in  remembrance,  this  applies  to  both  sexes,  and  Allah  has promised  them  forgiveness  and  a  great reward  without discrimination.   

Al-Muminun,  1-11  also  summarizes  attributes  of  contemplative  intellect,  that  the  fundamental belief  in  Allah  is  foremost  and  guarantees  deliverance,  this  in  turn  results  into  humbleness  in prayer,  avoiding  vain  talk,  active  in  giving  zakat,  guard  modesty,  faithful  observation  of  trusts  and covenant,  stringent  guarding  of  prayers  and  above  all,  giving  more  attention  to  knowledge,  for  they will inherit Paradise  and  dwell  therein  for-ever. 

Al  Ghazali  again  in  his  Ihya  enlightens  the  nature  of  a  contemplative  intelligence,  when carrying  out  prayers  as  one  of  the  basic  spiritual  practices  for  its  empowerment.    He  asserts  that  a contemplative  intellect  will  regard  prayers  as  one  of  the  uppermost  spiritual  activities  which  draw closer  to  its  creator  hence  it  should  be  carefully  and  properly  made.  To  achieve  this,  he  articulates that  the  performer  must  have  humility,  which  entails  the  presence  of  the  mind  whereby  the  action and  the  mind  must  be  the  same  in  mind  and  there  should  be  no  other  thoughts  therein.  This strengthens  the  firm  belief  that  prayer  is  a  stepping-  stone  to  the  next  world,  which  is  everlasting.   
The  intellect  should  be  engaged  to  understanding  the  meanings  of  what  is  being  uttered.  At  the same  time  the  mind  should  honour  God,  by  acknowledging  His  glory  and  by  thinking  of  oneself helplessness.  This  is  accompanied  by  the  fear  of  God  a  condition  that  is  as  a  result  of  the knowledge  of  God’s  power  and  His  rewards  and  punishments.  Hope  in  God  comes  next,  this  stems from  the  firm  faith  in  the  knowledge  of  God’s  mercy  and  gifts,  knowledge  of  His  creation  and remembrance.  The  feeling  of  shame  appears  from  the  knowledge  of  neglect  in  divine  service  and inability  to  fight for  God. 

Today  observes  Hossein  (1987)  that  it  is  difficult  to  imagine  a  universe  of  thought,  action  and being  in  which  contemplation  leads  to  action,  and  action  on  the  spiritual  place  becomes  the  way  of access  to  the  inner  garden  of  contemplation.  It  is  important  therefore  to  turn  to  the  doctrinal  and practical  teachings  of  Islamic  tradition  to  solve  the  existing  problem  by  turning  to  the  message  of Islam  concerning  the  contemplative  and  active  lives  for  man  to  follow  in  his  earthly  journey.  For the  modern  man’s  way  of  acting  is  purely  worldly  based,  this  has  resulted  into  loss  of  sight  of  the meaning  of  contemplation,  thus  over  action.   

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International  Journal  of  Asian  Social  Science,  2014,  4(3):  407-421 
Nasr,  further  affirms  that,  in  a  civilization  such  as  Islam,  action  and  contemplation  should  exist side  by  side  harmoniously  and  complement  each  other.  This  implies  that  contemplation  and  action are  interrelated,  for  that  matter,  contemplation  leads  to  correct  action  which  is  conceived  as  an inner  travail  as  well  as  external  acts  which  put  the  soul  in  the  right  state  leading  to  the  doors  of meditation.  But  as  a  necessity  man  must  know  in  order  to  act,  consequently,  contemplation  always precedes  action  in  principle,  this  is  why  the  contemplative  man  is  held  in  higher  esteem  in traditional  Islamic  society  that  the  man  of  action.  On  the  other  hand,  so  many  modern  men  rely  on books  only  and  simply  speak  about  tradition  without  practicing  it;  these  will  never  perform  correct action  in  the  spiritual  sense  and  never  to  reach  states  of  contemplation  in  their  pure  form  that  leads to  the  inner  attachment  of  one’s  being  to  the  Divinity  which  makes  action  an  application  of immutable  principles.   

This  is  why  the  unitary  principle  of  Islam  did  not  permit  contemplation  to  be  a  separate  social organization  outside  the  injunctions  of  the  Divine  Law.  As  a  result  contemplation  with  the  most intense  activity  was  combined  with  most  intense  forms  of  activity  throughout  Islamic  history  with outstanding  scholars,  teachers,  administrators  and  rulers.  In  this  case  their  inner  intensive contemplative  life  gave  meaning  to  their  acts. 

All  the  above  are  evidences  and  characteristics  which  a  seeker  after  knowledge  must  possess  if the  struggle  for  knowledge  acquisition  is  to  be  blessed  by  the  Almighty  Allah,  who  eventually  is the  sole  teacher  and  giver  of  knowledge,  whereby  success  in  this  process  depends  entirely  on closeness  and  fear  of  Allah  the  Almighty,  as  such  Allah  the  Almighty  states  thus;

”  ….And  fear Allah.  And  Allah  teaches  you…..”  al-Baqarah  282. 


Abdullah,  Y.A.,  1987.  The  Holy  Quran:English  translation.  Soud  Arabia:  King  Fahd  Holy  Quran  Printing Complex. 

Al-Ghazali,  1995.  Ihya  Ulum  al-Din,  breaking  the  two  desires.  (Winter.  T.J,  Trans.).  Cambridge:  The  Islamic Texts  Society. 

Al-Ghazzali,  1982.  Ihya  Ulum  –id-din.  (Fazul-Ul-Karim.Trans.).  New  Delhi:  Kitab  Bhavan. 

Bruno,  G.,  2006.  Seeds  of  the  future.  Paris  Institute  of  Astrophysics.  Available  from  [Accessed  October  28,  2006]. 

Hossein,  N.,  1987.  Islam  and  the  plight  of  modern  man.  Kuala Lumpur:  Foundations for  Traditional  Studies. 

Ibn,  K.,  1958/1980.  The  Muqaddimah,  an  introduction  to  history.  (Rosenthal,  Franz.  Trans.).  2nd  Edn.,  New Jersey:  Princeton  University  Press. 

Muslim,  (Abdul  Hamid  Siddiqui,  Trans.).  Available  from  http://  [Accessed  October  15, 2006]. 

Osman,  B.,  1991.  Tauhid  and  science:  Essays  on  the  history  and  philosophy  of  Islamic  science.  Kuala Lumpur:  Secretariat  for  Islamic  Philosophy  and  Science. 


Ahmad,  N.,  1991/1994.  Reliance  of  the  traveller:  A  classic  manual  of  Islamic  sacred  law.  (Keller.  Nuh  Ha Mim.  Trans.).  Delhi.  Aamna  Publications.  India. 

© 2014  AESS  Publications.    All  Rights  Reserved. 


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Tasbih Tahmid Takbir Tahlil

The Chapter on Dhikr
from at-Targhib wa at-Tarhib
by Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani
1. Encouragement to remember Allah often, secretly and openly, and to presevere in it; what is reported about someone who does not remember Allah often
1. Abu Huryara reported that the Messenger of Allah said, 
“Allah Almighty says, ‘I am in My slave’s opinion of Me and I am with Him when He remembers Me. When he remembers Me in himself, I mention him in Myself. If he mentions Me in an assembly, I mention him in a better assembly than them.’ If he comes near Me by a handspan, I come near him a cubit. If he comes near Me by a cubit, I come near a fathom. When he comes to walking, I come to him running.”
   (Muslim and al-Bukhari, Ahmad has at the end of it, Qatada said, “Allah is quicker to forgive.”)
2. ‘Abdullah ibn Busr reported a man said, 
“Messenger of Allah, the laws of Islam are too much for me. Tell me something I can cling to.” 
He said, “Your tongue should remain moist with the remembrance of Allah.” (at-Tirmidhi)
3. Abu’d-Darda’ reported that the Messenger of Allah said, 
“Shall I inform you of the best of your actions and the purest of your property and the highest of your degrees and what is better for you than spending gold and silver and better for you than encountering the enemy and striking their necks and their striking your necks?” 
They said, “Yes, indeed!” 
He said, “Remembrance of Allah Almighty.” Mu’adh ibn Jabal said, 
“There is nothing which saves from the punishment of Allah more than remembrance of Allah.” 

(Ahmad, Ibn Abi’d-Dunya, at-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah)
4. Abu Sa’id al-Khudri reported that the Messenger of Allah said, 
“Do a lot of remembrance of Allah until they say, ‘He is mad.'” (Ahmad, Abu Ya’la and Ibn Hibban)
5. Abu Musa reported that the Messenger of Allah said, 
“If one man has some dirhams in his possession which he divides and another remembers Allah, the one who remembers Allah is better.” 
One variant has, “There is no sadaqa better than remembrance of Allah.” (at-Tabarani)
6. Umm Anas reported that she said, “Messenger of Allah, command me.” 
He said, “Avoid acts of disobedience: that is the best jihad. Do a lot of invoking Allah. You do not bring Allah anything he loves more than a lot of remembrance.” 
(at-Tabarani. In one variant, “Remember Allah a lot. It is the action which Allah loves most to reveive.” At-Tabarani notes that Umm Anas is not the mother of Anas ibn Malik.)
2. Encouraging attending gatherings of dhikr and meeting together to remember Allah
7. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah said, 
“Allah Almighty has angels who travel the highways and by-ways seeking out the people of dhikr. When they find people remembering Allah, the Mighty and Majestic, they call out to one another, ‘Come to what you hunger for!’ and they enfold them with their wings stretching up to the lowest heaven. 
Their Lord – who knows them better – asks them, ‘What are My slaves saying?’ They say, ‘They are glorifying You, proclaiming Your greatness, praising You and magnifying You.’ 
He says, ‘Have they seen Me?’ They say, ‘No, by Allah, they have not seen You.’ 
He says, ‘How would it be if they were to see Me?’ [extra ‘He said’s deleted] They say, ‘If they were to see You, they would worship You even more intensely and magnify You even more intensely and glorify You even more intensely.’ 
He says, ‘What are they asking Me for?’They say, ‘They are asking You for the Garden.’ He says, ‘Have they seen it?’ They say, ‘No, by Allah, they have not seen it.'” He says, ‘How would it be if they were to see it?’ They say, ‘If they were to see it, they would yearn for it even more strongly and seek it even more assiduously and would have an even greater desire for it.’ 
He says, ‘What are they seeking refuge from?’ ‘They are seeking refuge from the Fire.’ He says, ‘Have they seen it?’ He says, ‘How would it be if they were to see it?’ They say, ‘If they were to see it, they would flee from it even harder and have an even greater fear of it.’ 
He says, ‘I testify to you that I have forgiven them.’ 
One of angels says, ‘Among them is so-and-so who is not one of them. He came to get something he needed.’ 
He says, ‘They are sitting and the one sitting with them will not be wretched.'” (al-Bukhari)
8. ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar reported: 
“I asked, ‘Messenger of Allah, what is the booty of the assemblies of dhikr?’ 
He replied, ‘The booty of the asemblies of dhikr is the Garden.'” (Ahmad)
9. Anas ibn Malik reported that the Messenger of Allah said, 
“When you come upon the meadows of the Garden, graze in them.” He was asked, “What are the meadows of the Garden?” “Circles of dhikr.” he replied. (at-Tirmidhi)
10. ‘Amr ibn ‘Abasa said, 
“I heard the Messenger of Allah say about the right hand of the All-Merciful, ‘Both His hands are right hands. There are men who are not Prophets or martyrs the whiteness of whose faces overpowers the sight of those who look. The Prophets and martyrs envy their seat and proximity to Allah Almighty.’ 
He was asked, ‘Messenger of Allah, who are they?’ 
He replied, ‘A mixture of isolated people from the tribes who meet to remember Allah and select the best words as someone who eats dates selects the best ones.'” (at-Tabarani)
3. Warning against sitting where Allah is not mentioned nor the prayer said on His Prophet
11. Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet said, 
“Whenever people sit in a place where they do not mention Allah or bless their Prophet, loss descends on them. If He wishes, He will punish them. If He wishes, He will forgive them.” (Abu Dawud and at-Tirmidhi)
4. Encouraging words which expiate the hubbub of the assembly
12. Rafi’ ibn Khadij reported that when his Companions met with him, at the end of it when the Messenger of Allah wanted to get up, he said, 
“Glory be to You, O Allah, and by Your praise. I testify that there is no god but Allah. I ask forgiveness of You and repent to You. I have acted badly and have wronged myself, so forgive me. Only You forgive wrong actions.” 
They said, “Messenger of Allah, are these words which you originated?” 
“Yes,” he replied, “Jibra’il came to me and said, 
“O Muhammad, they are the expiations of the gathering.” (an-Nasa’i)
13. ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr ibn al-‘As said that he said, 
“There are certain words which someone can say in a gathering devoted to good or a gathering of dhikr by which Allah will seal the gathering as the page is sealed with a seal. 
They are: ‘Glory be to You, O Allah, and with Your praise. There is no god but You. I ask You for forgiveness and turn to You.'” (Abu Dawud and Ibn Hibban
5. Encouraging saying “la ilaha illa’llah” and its excellence
14. Abu Hurayra said, 
“I asked, ‘Messenger of Allah, who will be the person happiest with your intercession on the Day of Rising?’ 
The Messenger of Allah replied, ‘I think that none would ask about this before you since I know your eagerness for hadith [learning]. 
The person happiest with my intercession on the Day of Rising will be the one who says: 
“There is no god but Allah” sincerely from his heart.'” (al-Bukhari)
15. Jabir reported that the Prophet said, 
“The best dhikr is ‘La ilaha illa’llah,’ and the best supplication is ‘al-hamdu lillah’.” (an-Nasa’i and Ibn Majah)
16. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “Do a lot of the shahada, testifying that there is no god but Allah before there comes a barrier between you and it.” (Abu Ya’la)
17. He reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “Renew your faith.” 
He was asked, “Messenger of Allah, how do we renew our faith?” 
He replied, “Say often: ‘There is no god but Allah.'” (Ahmad and at-Tabarani)
18. ‘Amr said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah say, 
“I know some words which, if a person says it truly from his heart and dies on that, he will be unlawful to the Fire: ‘There is no god but Allah’.” (al-Hakim)
Encouraging saying “There is no god but Allah alone with no partner”
19. Abu Ayyub reported that the Messenger of Allah said, 
“Anyone who says, ‘There is no god but Allah alone with no partner. His is the kingdom and His is the praise. He has power over everything’ ten times, it is as if he had set free four slaves of the descendants of Isma’il.” (Agreed upon)
20. Ya’qub ibn ‘Asim reported that two of the Companions of the Prophet heard the Prophet say, “No one at all says “There is no god but Allah alone with no partner. The kingdom and praise belong to Him and He has power over everything” sincerely with his soul, affirming it with his heart, articulating it with his tongue but that Allah splits open the heaven so that He can look at the one on the earth who says it, and it is a right of the slave at whom Allah looks that He grant him his request.” (an-Nasa’i)
6. Encouraging glorification, takbir, the shahada, and praise in its various forms
21. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah said, 
“Two words are light on the tongue, heavy in the balance, beloved to the Merciful: ‘Glory be to Allah and by His praise. Glory be to Allah, the Immense.'” (Agreed upon)
22. Abu Umama reported that the Messenger of Allah said, 
“Whoever dreads to endure the night, or is miserly about spending money, or is too cowardly to fight the enemy should say often: ‘Glory be to Allah and with His praise.’ It is more beloved to Allah than a mountain of gold spent in the Way of Allah.” (at-Tabarani)
23. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah said, 
“Anyone who says, ‘Glory be to Allah and with His praise’ a hundred times a day will have his sins fall away, even if they are like the froth of the sea.” (Muslim and at-Tirmidhi)
24. Mus’ab ibn Sa’d (ibn Abi Waqqas) said that his father said,
“We were with the Messenger of Allah when he asked, ‘Are any of you able to earn a thousand good deeds every day?’ 
One of those who was sitting there asked him, ‘How can someone earn a thousand good deeds?’ 
He said, ‘Glorifying a hundred times is written as a thousand good deeds or a thousand errors fall away from him.'” (Muslim and an-Nasa’i)
25. Samura ibn Jundub reported that the Messenger of Allah said, 
“The dearest of words to Allah are four: ‘Glory be to Allah; Praise be to Allah; There is no god but Allah; and Allah is greater.’ It does not matter whichever of them you say first.”(Muslim and an-Nasa’i, He added, “They are part of the Qur’an.”.)
26. Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet passed by him when he was planting a seedling and he asked,
“Abu Hurayra, what is that which you are planting?” He said, “Seedlings.” 
He said, “Shall I not direct you to a seedling better than this? ‘Glory be to Allah. Praise be to Allah. Allah is greater, and there is no god but Allah.’ Each word of them will plant a tree for you in the Garden.” (Ibn Majah)
27. Umm Hani’ said, “The Messenger of Allah passed by me one day and I said, 
‘Messenger of Allah, I am old and weak, so command me something I can do sitting.’ 
He said, ‘Say “Glory be to Allah” a hundred times: it is equal to a hundred slaves of the descendants of Isma’il you set free. 
Say “Praise be to Allah” a hundred times: it is equal to a hundred horses saddled and bridled and ridden in the Way of Allah. 
Say “Allah is greater” a hundred times: it is equal to a hundred camels garlanded and facing qibla.
Say “There is no god but Allah” a hundred times. (I think he said) It fills up what is between heaven and earth. On that day no one will have a better action presented that which will be presented for you unless he brings the like of what you bring.'”  (Ahmad, at-Tabarani and al-Bayhaqi)
28. Abu Dharr reported that some of the Companions of the Messenger of Allah *said, 
“Messenger of Allah, the wealthy have appropriated the rewards. They pray as we pray and they fast as we fast, but they give sadaqa since they have more wealth.”
He said, “Did not Allah give you that which you can give as sadaqa? 
Every glorification is sadaqa. Everytakbir is sadaqa. 

Every praise is sadaqa. 

Every ‘la ilaha illa’llah’ is sadaqa. Commanding the right is sadaqa. Forbidding the wrong is sadaqa.”  (Muslim and Ibn Majah)
29. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah said, 
“Take your protection.”
They asked, “Messenger of Allah, from an enemy present?” 
He replied, “No, but your protection against the Fire. Say: ‘Glory be to Allah. There is no god but Allah, and Allah is greater.’ They will come on the Day of Rising in front and behind you. They are lasting righteous ones.” (an-Nasa’i and al-Bayhaqi. At-Tabarani has it in al-Awsat and adds, “There is no strength or power except by Allah.”)
30. ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud said, “Anyone who is tight-fisted about giving money, fears the struggle against the enemy and is wearied by the night should often say, “There is no god but Allah. Allah is greater. Praise be to Allah and glory be to Allah.'” (At-Tabarani)
31. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “Any words which do not with praise are mutilated.” (Abu Dawud, an-Nasa’i, and Ibn Majah)
7. Encouraging saying, “Glory be to Allah,” “Praise be to Allah”, “There is no god but Allah” and “Allah is greater” in mosques
32. Umm al-Mu’minin Juwayriyya bint al-Harith reported that the Prophet left her and then he returned after the sun was well risen and she was still sitting there. 
He said, “You are still in the state you were when I left you?” 
She said, “Yes.” 
The Prophet said, “I said four words three times after I left you. If they were to be weighed against everything you have recited today they would outweigh it: ‘Glory be to Allah and by His praise in number as great as His creation and His own pleasure, the weight of His Throne and the ink of His words.'”(Muslim and the Four)
33. ‘A’isha bint Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas related from her father that, together with the Messenger of Allah, he visited a woman and in front of her were some date-stones – or pebbles – which she was using to glorify Allah. 
He said, ‘Shall I inform you what is easier for you than this – or better?’ 
He said, ‘Glory be to Allah by the number of things He has created in the heaven and glory be to Allah by the number of things He has created in the earth and glory be to Allah by the number of things in between them and glory be to Allah by the number of things He has created. 
Then say, “Allah is greater” in the same way and “Praise be to Allah” in the same way, and “There is no god but Allah” in the same way and “There is no power nor strength except by Allah” in the same way.'” (Abu Dawud and at-Tirmidhi)
8. Encouraging saying “There is no power nor strength except by Allah”
34. Abu Musa said that the Prophet said, 
“Say: ‘There is no power nor strength except by Allah.’ It is one of the treasures of the Garden.” (Agreed upon, and in the transmission of an-Nasa’i: 
“Whoever says ‘There is no strength nor power except by Allah’, it is the cure for ninety-nine illnesses, the least of which is worry.”)
9. Encouraging the dhikrs which are said in the morning and the evening
35. Mu’adh ibn ‘Abdullah ibn Khubayb reported that his father said, 
“We went out on a very dark and rainy night looking for the Messenger of Allah to lead us in the prayer. We found him and he said,
‘Speak.’ I did not say anything,.’ 
Then he said, ‘Say,’ and I did not say anything. Then he said, ‘Say,’ and I said, ‘Messenger of Allah, what shall I say?’ 
He said, ‘Recite, “Say: He is God, One,” and the suras of seeking refuge in the evening and the morning three times, it will be enough to protect you in respect of everything.'” (Abu Dawud, at-Tirmidhi, and an-Nasa’i)
36. Shaddad ibn Aws reported that the Prophet said, 
“The best way to ask forgiveness is to say, ‘O Allah, You are my Lord. There is no god but You. You created me and I am Your slave. I comply with Your covenant and Your promise as much as I can. I seek refuge with you from the evil of what I have done. I acknowledge my sin, so forgive me. Only You can forgive sins.’ Anyone who says it during the night having confidence in it and dies before morning will enter the Garden. Anyone who says this during the day having confidence in it and dies on that day before evening will enter the Garden. ”
(Al-Bukhari, an-Nasa’i and at-Tirmidhi who has: “No one says it in the evening and then the decree comes to him before morning but that the Garden is mandatory for him. He does not say it in the morning and then the decree comes to him before evening but that the Garden is mandatory for him.”)
37. Abu Hurayra said, “A man came to the Prophet and said, 
‘Messenger of Allah, what agony I suffered last night from a scorpion which stung me yesterday!’ 
He said, ‘If you had said in the evening, “I seek refuge with the perfect words of Allah from the evil of what He has created,” it would not have harmed you.”(Muslim and the four;)
38. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah said, 
“On the Day of Rising no one will bring anything better than someone who says in the morning and evening, ‘Glory be to Allah and by His praise’ a hundred times except someone who says the same as he says or more.”
(Muslim, the people of the three Sunans, and Ibn Abi’d-Dunya. In Abu Dawud, “Glory be to Allah the Immense.” Al-Hakim said “Anyone who says in the morning ‘Glory be to Allah and by His praise,’ a hundred times, and a hundred times in the evening, his sins will be forgiven even if they more than the forth of the sea.”)
39. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah said,
“Anyone who says, ‘There is no god but Allah alone with no partner. His is the kingdom and His is the praise, and He has power over everything’ a hundred times a day has the same reward as if he had freed ten slaves, and a hundred good deeds are written for him and a hundred bad deeds are effaced from him and he has protection from Shaytan on that day until evening. No one will do anything better than he does except a man who does it more than he did.” (Agreed upon)
40. Aban ibn ‘Uthman said that he heard ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan say that the Messenger of Allah said, 
“No slave of Allah says in the morning every day and the evening every night, ‘In the name of Allah by whose name nothing in the earth or the heaven can be harmed. He is the Hearing, the Knowing,’ three times without that ensuring that nothing will harm him.” 
Aban suffered from a stroke which left him semi-paralysed on one side. He was asked about it and said, “I did not say it that day so that Allah could carry out His decree.” (The four)
41. Abu’d-Darda’ said, “If anyone says in the morning and evening, ‘Allah is enough for me. There is no god but Him. I have relied on Him and He is the Lord of the Immense Throne’ seven times, Allah will spare him what worries him (whether he is truthful or lying).” (Abu Dawud)
42. Anas ibn Malik reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “If anyone says in the morning or the evening, ‘O Allah, I testify to You and I testify to the bearers of Your throne, Your angels and all Your creation that You are Allah and there is no god but You and Muhammad is Your slave and Messenger,’ Allah will free a quarter of him from the fire. If anyone says it twice, Allah will free half of him from the Fire. If anyone says it three times, Allah will free three-quarters of him from the Fire. If anyone says it four times, Allah will free all of him from the Fire.'”
43. Al-Mundhir, the Companion of the Messenger of Allah, said when he was in North Africa, “I heard the Messenger of Allah say, ‘If anyone says in the morning “I am pleased with with Allah as a Lord, Islam with a deen and Muhammad as a Prophet” I am the leader who will take his hand to admit him to the Garden.”‘” (at-Tabarani)
44. ‘Abdullah ibn Ghannam al-Bayadi reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “If anyone says in the morning, ‘O Allah, whatever blessing comes to me or any of Your creation in the morning is from You alone with no partner; praise is Yours and thanks is to You’ has fulfilled the thankfulness due for the day. If he says the like of that in the evening, he has fulfilled the thankfulness due for the night. ” (Abu Dawud and an-Nasa’i)
45. Ibn ‘Umar said, “The Messenger of Allah did not omit these words in the evening and morning: ‘O Allah, I ask You for pardon and well-being in this world and the Next. O Allah, I ask You for pardon and well-being in my deen and this world, my family and my property. O Allah, veil my defects and protect me from what I fear. O Allah, preserve me in front of me and behind me, to my right and to my left, and above me. I seek refuge with Your might from unexpected harm from under me.” (Abu Dawud, an-Nasa’i and Ibn Majah)
46. Anas ibn Malik reported that the Messenger of Allah said to Fatima, “What will prevent you from listening to my advice to you? You should say in the morning and evening: ‘O Living, O Self-Sustaining, I seek help by Your mercy. Put all my affairs in order for me. Do not entrust me to myself for the blink of an eye.'” (an-Nasa’i)
47. Al-Hasan stated that Samura ibn Jundub said, “Shall I inform you of ahadith which I heard from the Messenger of Allah several times, and from Abu Bakr several times and from ÔUmar several times?” “Yes,” was the reply. He said, “If anyone says in the morning and the evening, ‘O Allah, You created me and You guide me; You give me food and drink; You make me die and give me life,’ he will not ask for anything but that He will give it to him.” He said, “I met ÔAbdullah ibn Salam and said, ‘Shall I inform you of a hadith which I heard from the Messenger of Allah several times, and from Abu Bakr several times and from ÔUmar several times?’ He said, ‘Yes,’ and recounted this hadith. He said, ‘By my mother and father, the Messenger of Allah said those words. Allah Almighty gave them to Musa, peace be upon him and he used to pray with them seven times every day, and he never asked Allah for something but that Allah gave it to him.” (At-Tabarani)
48. Abu’d-Darda’ reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “Anyone who says the prayer on me ten times in the morning and ten times in the evening will obtain my intercession on the Day of Rising,”
(At-Tabarani with two isnads, one of which is excellent)
49. Zayd ibn Thabit reported that the Messenger of Allah taught him a supplication and commanded him to promise to do it and that his family should do it every day. He said: “He should say in the morning, ‘O Allah, at Your service. Good is in Your hand and from You to You. O Allah, whatever word I say, oath I make or vow I make, You will is before it, What You wish will be and what you do not wish will not be. There is no power or strength except by You. You have power over everything. O Allah, whatever prayer I pray is for the on whom I pray and whatever curse I make is against the one I curse. You are my Protector in this world and the Next. Make me die a Muslim and join me to the righteous. O Allah, I ask you for pleasure with the Decree, pleasant life after death, the pleasure of looking at Your face, and yearning to meet You without harmful distress or misleading sedition. I seek refuge with You, O Allah, lest I wrong or be wronged, or transgress or be transgressed against, or acquire a wrong action or a sin which is not forgiven, O Allah, Creator of the heavens and the earth, Knower of the Unseen and the Visible, O Master of Majesty and Generosity, I entrust to You in this life and I call on You to testify. Allah is enough of a witness. I testify that there is no god but You alone with no partner. Yours is the kingdom and praise is Yours. You have power over everything. I testify that Muhammad is Your slave and Messenger. I testify that Your promise is true, meeting Your is true, the Garden is true, the Fire is true and the Hour is true. It is coming without doubt. You will raise whoever is in the graves. If You entrust me to myself, You entrust me to weakness, disgrace, sin and error. I can only trust in Your mercy, so forgive me all my sins. None but You forgive sins. Turn to me. You are the Ever-Turning, All-Merciful.'” (Ahmad and at-Tabarani)
10. Encouraging words which are said when one goes to bed and what has come about someone who rises from sleep without mentioning Allah
50. Al-Bara’ ibn ‘Azib said, “The Prophet said, ‘When you go to your bed, do wudu’ as you do for the prayer and then lie down on your right side and said, ‘O Allah, I have surrendered my soul to You, I have turned my face towards You, I have entrusted my affair to You and I have sought refuge in You out of desire for You and fear of You. There is no shelter nor place of safety from You except with You. I have believed in Your Book which You sent down and Your Prophet whom You sent.’ Then if you die in the night, you will die in the natural harmonious form of man. Make them the last thing that you say.” He said, “I repeated them to the Prophet and when I reached the words, ‘Your Book which You sent down,’ I said, ‘and your Message.’ He said, ‘No: “Your Prophet whom You sent.'” (Agreed upon. In al-Bukhari and at-Tirmidhi, “If you die in the night, you die on the natural form. If you reach the morning, you obtain good.”)
51. ÔAbdullah ibn ÔAmr ib al-‘As reported that the Prophet said, “There are two qualities in which a Muslim does not persevere in but that he will enter the Garden. They are easy but those who do them are few: After every prayer, he should glorify Allah ten times, praise Him ten times, and say the takbir ten times. That is 150 on the tongue and 150,000 in the balance. When he goes to bed, he should say the takbir 34 times, praise Allah 33 times and glorify Him 33 times. That is 100 on the tongue and a thousand in the balance.’ I saw the Messenger of Allah count them. They asked, ‘Messenger of Allah, how is it that they are easy and those who do them few?’ He said, ‘Shaytan comes to one of you when he goes to sleep and makes him fall asleep before he says them, and he comes when he is praying and reminds him of a need before he says them.” (Abu Dawud, and at-Tirmidhi)
52. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “If, when someone retires to his bed and says. ‘There is no god but Allah alone with no partner. His is the Kingdom and praise is His. He has power over everything and there is no power nor strength except by Allah. Glory be to Allah and praise be to Allah. There is no god but Allah, and Allah is greater,’ he will be forgiven his sins or errors, even if they are like the froth of the sea.” (an-Nasa’i)
11. Encouraging words said when someone wakes up in the night
53. ‘Ubada ibn as-Samit reported that the Prophet said, “If someone wakes up at night and says, ‘There is no god but Allah alone with no partner. The kingdom is His and His is the praise. He has power over everything. Praise belongs to Allah. Glory be to Allah. There is no god but Allah. Allah is greater. There is no strength nor power except by Allah,’ and then says, ‘O Allah, forgive me’ or makes supplication to Allah,’ it will be answered. If he does wudu’, then his prayer will be accepted.” (al-Bukhari and the Four)
12. Encouraging dhikrs said after Subh, ‘Asr and Maghrib
54. Abu Dharr reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “If, after the Fajr prayer, anyone says while his feet are still folded before speaking, ‘There is no god ut Allah alone with no partner. His is the kingdom and praise is His. He gives life and makes die, and He has power over everything’ ten times, Allah will write for him ten good deeds, efface ten evil deeds from him, and raise him ten degrees, and that day he is protected from every very disliked thing, guarded against shaytan, and no sin will overtake him in that day unless it is associating with Allah.” (At-Tirmidhi)
55. Al-Harith ibn Muslim at-Tamimi said, “The Prophet said to me, ‘When you pray Subh, say seven times before speaking, ‘O Allah, protect me from the Fire.’ If you die on that day, Allah will write for you protection from the Fire. When you pray Maghrib, say seven times before speaking, ‘O Allah, protect me from the Fire.’ If you die that night, Allah will write for you protection from the Fire.’ (an-Nasa’i, and Abu Dawud)
13. Encouraging what is said and done by someone who has a dream he dislikes
56. Jabir reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “When one of you has a dream he dislikes, he should spit to his left three times and seek refuge with Allah from the Accursed Shaytan three times and then turn over onto his other side.” (Muslim, Abu Dawud and an-Nasa’i)
57. Abu Qatada reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “The true dream is from Allah and the confused dream is from Shaytan. Whoever sees something he dsilieks should spit three times to his left and seek refuge from shaytan. It will not harm him” (Agreed upon. The four relate it. In one variant, “When he sees something he dislikes, he should seek refuge in Allah from its evil and from shaytan. He should spit three times to his left and not tell anyone about it.” They have the like of it from Abu Hurayra which says, “Ésomething he dislikes should not recount it to anyone, and he should get up and pray.”)
14. Encouraging ayats and dhikrs said after the obligatory prayers
58. Sumayy reported from Abu Salih that Abu Hurayra reported that the poor of the Muhajirun came to the Messenger of Allah and said, “The wealthy have appropriated the high degrees and abiding bliss.” He said, “How is that?” He said, “They pray as we pray and they fast as we fast, but they give sadaqa and we do not give sadaqa and they set free slaves and we do not set free slaves.” The Messenger of Allah said, “Shall I inform you of something by which you will overtake those who have preceded you and precede those who come after you and no one will be better than you unless he does the same as you do?” They said, “By all means, Messenger of Allah.” He said, “You should say ‘Glory be to Allah,’ ‘Praise be to Allah,’ and ‘Allah is greater’ thirty-three times after every prayer.”
Abu Salih said, “The poor Muhajirun then returned to the Messenger of Allah and said, “Our brothers who possess property heard about what we were doing and they have done the same.” The Messenger of Allah said, “That is a favour which Allah gives to anyone He wills.”
Sumayya said, “Some of my family related this hadith and said., “I was weak. He told you: Say ‘Glory be to Allah’ 33 times, ‘Praise be to Allah’ 33 times, and the takbir 34 times.” He said, “I returned to Abu Salih and said that to him and he took my hand and said, ‘Allah is great; Glory be to Allah, and Praise be to Allah’ until he said them all 33 times.”
(Agreed upon. This is the version of Muslim, He also has, “Anyone who say after every prayer, ‘Glory be to Allah’ thirty-three times, ‘Praise belongs to Allah’ thirty-three times and ‘Allah is greater’ thirty-three times and says to complete the hundred, ‘There is no god but Allah alone with no partner. He has the kingdom and He has the praise and He has power over everything,’ will be forgiven his errors, even if they are like the foam of the sea.” Malik and Ibn Khuzayma transmitted it, but Malik said, “His sins will be forgiven, even if they are like the foam of the sea.” Abu Dawud transmitted it. Abu Dharr said, “Messenger of Allah, the wealthy have appropriated the rewards.” In it he said, “They have excess wealth which they give sadaqa and we do not have wealth to give as sadaqa.” He said, “Abu Dharr, shall I teach you words by which you will catch those before you?” He said in it, “Say the takbir 33 times after every prayer .” He said in it, “Complete it with ‘There is no god but Allah.'” At-Tirmidhi and an-Nasa’i transmitted it.”)
59. Mu’adh ibn Jabal reported that the Messenger of Allah took him by the hand and said, “Mu’adh, by Allah, I love you.” Mu’adh said, “May my mother and father be your ransom, Messenger of Allah. By Allah, I love you.” He said, “Mu’adh, I advise you not to fail to say after every prayer, ‘O Allah, help me to remember You and thank You and worship You well.'” Mu’adh advised as-Sanabihi to do that. (Abu Dawud and an-Nasa’i)
15. Encouraging words said by someone who is alarmed at night
60. ‘Amr ibn Shu’ayb reported from his father from his grandfather that the Messenger of Allah said, “When one you is alarmed in sleep, he should say, ‘I seek refuge with the perfect words of Allah from His anger, from the evil of His servants and from the whisperings of shaytan and lest they be present,’ and they will not harm him.” ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr used to teach it those of his children who were sensible, and in the case of those who were not, he wrote it in a page and then hung it from their necks.” (The three)
61. Abu’t-Tayyah said, “I asked ‘Abdu’r-Rahman ibn Khanbash at-Tamimi, who was old, ‘Did you met the Messenger of Allah ?’ ‘Yes,’ he replied. I asked, ‘What did he act do the night when the shaytans of the jinn came at him?’ He said, ‘The shaytan came down that night to the Messenger of Allah from the valleys and ravines. Among them was a shaytan with a fiery torch in his hand with which he intended to burn the face of the Messenger of Allah. Jibril descended to him and said, ‘Muhammad, speak.’ He asked, ‘What should I say?’ He said, ‘Say: “I seek refuge with the complete words of Allah from the evil of what He created, originated, and produced, and from the evil of what descends from the sky and from the evil of what ascends in it, and from the evil of the trials of the night and day, and from the evil of from the evil of every visitant at night except that which knocks with good, O All-Mericiful.”‘ The fire was put out and Allah Almighty defeated them.” (Ahmad and Abu Ya’la)
16. Encouraging what is said when one leaves his house for the mosque and elsewhere and when he enters it
62. Anas ibn Malik reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “If, when a man leaveshis house, he says, ‘In the name of Allah. I have relied on Allah and there is no power nor strength except by Allah,’ he will he told, ‘It is enough for you. You have been guided, spared and protected,’ and Shaytan will be kept far from him.”
(At-Tirmidhi, an-Nasa’i; and Ibn Hibban)
63. Jabir reported that he heard the Messenger of Allah say, “When a man enters his house and mentions the name of Allah both when he enters and when he eats, Shaytan says to his companions, ‘You have no lodging and no meal.’ When he enters and does not mention Allah when he enters, Shaytan says, ‘You have lodging.’ When he does not mention Allah Almighty when he eats, he says, ‘You have lodging and a meal.'”(Muslim and the four)
17. Encouraging what is said when there is whispering in the prayers and at other times
64. ‘Uthman ibn Abi’l-‘As reported that he went to the Prophet and said, ‘Messenger of Allah, Shaytan comes between me and my prayer and my recitation and confuses me.’ He said, “That is a Shaytan called Khinzab. When you feel that, seek refuge in Allah from him and spit to your left three times.’ I did that and Allah removed it from me.” (Muslim.)
65. ‘A’isha reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “Shaytan comes to one of you and asks, ‘Who created you?’ He says, ‘Allah. Then he says, ‘Who created Allah?’ If one of you experiences that, he should say, ‘I believe in Allah and His Messenger.’ That will remove it.'” (Ahmad, Abu Ya’la, and al-Bazzar)
67. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “Shaytan comes to one you and says, ‘Who created such-and-such? Who created such-and-such?’ until he says, ‘Who created your Lord?’ When it reaches that, seek refuge with Allah and leave it.”
(Agreed upon. In the varant of Muslim, “Say: ‘I believe in Allah and His Messenger.'” In the variant of Abu Dawud and an-Nasa’i, “Say, ‘He is Allah, the One and Only; Allah, the Eternal, Absolute. He begetteth not, nor is He begotten, and there is none like unto Him.’ Then he should spit to his left three times and seek refuge with Allah from Shaytan.” In the variant of an-Nasa’i, “He should seek refuge from him and his temptations.”)

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Sufism or Taṣawwuf[1] 

(Arabic: التصوف‎‎), which is often defined as “Islamicmysticism,”[2] “the inward dimension of Islam,”[3][4] or “the phenomenon of mysticism within Islam,”[5][6] is a mystical trend in Islam “characterized … [by particular] values, ritual practices, doctrines and institutions”[7] which began very early on in Islamic history[5]and which represents “the main manifestation and the most important and central crystallization of” mystical practice in Islam.[8] 

Although the overwhelming majority of Sufis, both pre-modern and modern, have been adherents of Sunni Islam, there nevertheless also developed certain strands of Sufi practice within the ambit of Shia Islam during the late medieval period.[5]

Practitioners of Sufism have been referred to as “Sufis” (/ˈsuːfi/; صُوفِيّ ; ṣūfī), an Arabic word which is believed by historians to have originally indicated the “woollen clothes (ṣūf) or rough garb” worn by the early Islamic mystics.[5]Historically, they have often belonged to different ṭuruq or “orders”—congregations formed around a grand master referred to as a mawla who traces a direct chain of teachers back to the Islamic prophet, Muhammad.[9]

These orders meet for spiritual sessions (majalis) in meeting places known as zawiyaskhanqahs, or tekke.[10] 

They strive for ihsan (perfection of worship) as detailed in a hadith

“Ihsan is to worship Allah as if you see Him; if you can’t see Him, surely He sees you.”[11]

Rumi stated: “The Sufi is hanging on to Muhammad, like Abu Bakr.”[12] Sufis regard Muhammad as al-Insān al-Kāmil, the primary perfect man who exemplifies the morality of God,[13] and regard Muhammad as their leader and prime spiritual guide.

All Sufi orders trace many of their original precepts from Muhammad through his son-in-law Ali with the notable exception of the Naqshbandi, who claim to trace their origins from Muhammad through the first Rashid Caliph, Abu Bakr.[14] The orders largely follow one of the four madhhabs (jurisprudent schools of thought) of Sunni Islam and maintain a Sunni aqidah (creed).[15]

Classical Sufis were characterized by their asceticism, especially by their attachment to dhikr, the practice of repeating the names of God, often performed after prayers.[16] They gained adherents among a number of Muslims as a reaction against the worldliness of the early Umayyad Caliphate (661–750).[17] and have spanned several continents and cultures over a millennium, originally expressing their beliefs in Arabic before spreading into PersianTurkish, and Urdu among dozens of other languages.[18]

According to William Chittick, “In a broad sense, Sufism can be described as the interiorization, and intensification of Islamic faith and practice.”[19]


The term Sufism came into being, not by Islamic texts or Sufis themselves but by British Orientalists who wanted to create an artificial divide between what they found attractive in Islamic civilization (i.e. Islamic spirituality) and the negative stereotypes that were present in Britain about Islam.[20] 

These British orientalists, therefore, fabricated a divide that was previously non-existent.[20] The term Sufism has, however, persisted especially in the Western world ever since.

Historically, Muslims have used the Arabic word taṣawwuf to identify the practice of Sufis.[1] Mainstream scholars of Islam define Tasawwuf or Sufism as the name for the inner or esoteric dimension of Islam[21] which is supported and complemented by outward or exoteric practices of Islam, such as Sharia.[22] In this view, “it is absolutely necessary to be a Muslim” to be a true Sufi, because Sufism’s “methods are inoperative without” Muslim “affiliation”.[23][24] However, Islamic scholars themselves are not by any means in agreement about the meaning of the word “sufi”.[25]

Sufis themselves claim that Tasawwuf is an aspect of Islam similar to Sharia,[1]inseparable from Islam and an integral part of Islamic belief and practice.[26]Classical Sufi scholars have defined Tasawwuf as “a science whose objective is the reparation of the heart and turning it away from all else but God”.

[27] Traditional Sufis such as Bayazid BastamiRumiHaji Bektash VeliJunayd of Baghdad, and Al-Ghazali, define Sufism as purely based upon the tenets of Islam and the teachings of Muhammad.[25][28][29][30]


The original meaning of sufi seems to have been “one who wears wool (ṣūf)”, and Encyclopaedia of Islam calls other etymological hypotheses “untenable”.[31][32] Woollen clothes were traditionally associated with ascetics and mystics.[32] Al-Qushayri and Ibn Khaldun both rejected all possibilities other than ṣūf on linguistic grounds.[33]

Another explanation traces the lexical root of the word to ṣafā (صفاء), which in Arabic means “purity”. These two explanations were combined by the Sufi al-Rudhabari (d. 322 AH), who said, “The Sufi is the one who wears wool on top of purity”.[34][35]

Others have suggested that the word comes from the term ahl aṣ-ṣuffah (“the people of the bench”), who were a group of impoverished companions of Muhammad who held regular gatherings of dhikr. These men and women who sat at al-Masjid an-Nabawi are considered by some to be the first Sufis.[36][37]


 History of Sufism


Ali is considered to be the “Father of Sufism” in Islam.[38]

Sufi orders are based on the bayʿah (pledge of allegiance) that was given to Muhammad by his Sahabah. By pledging allegiance to Muhammad, the Sahabah had committed themselves to the service of God. According to Islamic belief, by pledging allegiance to Muhammad, the Sahaba have pledged allegiance to God.[39][40]

Verily, those who give Bai’âh (pledge) to you (O Muhammad) they are giving Bai’âh (pledge) to Allâh. The Hand of Allâh is over their hands. Then whosoever breaks his pledge, breaks it only to his own harm, and whosoever fulfils what he has covenanted with Allâh, He will bestow on him a great reward. – [Translation of Quran, 48:10]

Sufis believe that by giving bayʿah (pledging allegiance) to a legitimate Sufi shaykh, one is pledging allegiance to Muhammad and therefore a spiritual connection between the seeker and Muhammad is established. It is through Muhammad that Sufis aim to learn about, understand and connect with God.[41] Ali is regarded as one of the major figures amongst the Sahaba who have directly pledged allegiance to Muhammad and Sufis maintain that through Ali, knowledge about Muhammad and a connection with Muhammad may be attained. Such a concept may be understood by the hadith, which Sufis regard to be authentic, in which Muhammad said, “I am the city of knowledge and Ali is its gate”.[42] Eminent Sufis such as Ali Hujwiri refer to Ali as having a very high ranking in Tasawwuf. Furthermore, Junayd of Baghdad  regarded Ali as sheikh of the principals and practices of Tasawwuf.[38]

Practitioners of Sufism hold that in its early stages of development Sufism effectively referred to nothing more than the internalization of Islam.[43]According to one perspective, it is directly from the Qur’an, constantly recited, meditated, and experienced, that Sufism proceeded, in its origin and its development.[44] Other practitioners have held that Sufism is the strict emulation of the way of Muhammad, through which the heart’s connection to the Divine is strengthened.[45]

Modern academics and scholars have rejected early orientalist theories asserting a non-Islamic origin of Sufism,[46] The consensus is that it emerged in Western Asia. Many have asserted Sufism to be unique within the confines of the Islamic religion and contend that Sufism developed from people like Bayazid Bastami, who, in his utmost reverence to the sunnah, refused to eat a watermelon because he did not find any proof that Muhammad ever ate it.[25][47] According to the late medieval mystic JamiAbd-Allah ibn Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah (died c. 716) was the first person to be called a “Sufi”.[33]

Important contributions in writing are attributed[by whom?] to Uwais al-QaraniHasan of BasraHarith al-Muhasibi and Said ibn al-MusayyibRuwaym, from the second generation of Sufis in Baghdad, was also an influential early figure,[48][49]as was Junayd of Baghdad; a number of early practitioners of Sufism were disciples of one of the two.[50]

Sufism had a long history already before the subsequent institutionalization of Sufi teachings into devotional orders (tarîqât) in the early Middle Ages.[51] The Naqshbandi order is a notable exception to general rule of orders tracing their spiritual lineage through Muhammad’s grandsons, as it traces the origin of its teachings from Muhammad to the first Islamic Caliph, Abu Bakr.[14]

Over the years Sufi orders have influenced and have been adopted by various Shi’i movements, especially Isma’ilism, which led to the Safaviyya order’s conversion to Shia Islam from Sunni Islam and the spread of Twelverism throughout Iran.[52] Sufi orders include Ba ‘AlawiyyaBadawiyyaBektashiBurhaniyyaChishtiKhalwatiMevleviNaqshbandiNi’matullāhīUwaisiQadiriyyaQalandariyyaRifa’iSarwari QadiriShadhiliyyaSuhrawardiyyaTijaniyyahZinda Shah Madariya, and others.[53]

As an Islamic discipline 

Existing in both Sunni and Shia Islam, Sufism is not a distinct sect,[54] as is sometimes erroneously assumed,[54] but a method of approaching or a way of understanding the religion,[54] which strives to take the regular practice of the religion to the “supererogatory level”[54]through simultaneously “fulfilling … [the obligatory] religious duties”[5] and finding a “way and a means of striking a root through the ‘narrow gate’ in the depth of the soul out into the domain of the pure arid unimprisonable  Spirit[disambiguation needed] which itself opens out on to the Divinity.”[2]

As a mystic and ascetic aspect of Islam, it is considered as the part of Islamic teaching that deals with the purification of the inner self. By focusing on the more spiritual aspects of religion, Sufis strive to obtain direct experience of God by making use of “intuitive and emotional faculties” that one must be trained to use.[55] 

Tasawwuf is regarded as a science of the soul that has always been an integral part of Orthodox Islam.[56] In his Al-Risala al-Safadiyyaibn Taymiyyah describes the Sufis as those who belong to the path of the Sunna and represent it in their teachings and writings.

Ibn Taymiyya’s Sufi inclinations and his reverence for Sufis like Abdul-Qadir Gilani can also be seen in his hundred-page commentary on Futuh al-ghayb, covering only five of the seventy-eight sermons of the book, but showing that he considered tasawwuf essential within the life of the Islamic community.

In his commentary, Ibn Taymiyya stresses that the primacy of the Sharia  forms the soundest tradition in tasawwuf, and to argue this point he lists over a dozen early masters, as well as more contemporary shaykhs like his fellow Hanbalis, al-Ansari al-Harawi and Abdul-Qadir, and the latter’s own shaykh, Hammad al-Dabbas the upright. He cites the early shaykhs (shuyukh al-salaf) such as Al-Fuḍayl ibn ‘IyāḍIbrahim ibn AdhamMa`ruf al-KarkhiSirri SaqtiJunayd of Baghdad, and others of the early teachers, as well as Abdul-Qadir Gilani, Hammad, Abu al-Bayan and others of the later masters— that they do not permit the followers of the Sufi path to depart from the divinely legislated command and prohibition.

Al-Ghazali narrates in Al-Munqidh min al-dalal:

The vicissitudes of life, family affairs and financial constraints engulfed my life and deprived me of the congenial solitude. The heavy odds confronted me and provided me with few moments for my pursuits. This state of affairs lasted for ten years but wherever I had some spare and congenial moments I resorted to my intrinsic proclivity. During these turbulent years, numerous astonishing and indescribable secrets of life were unveiled to me. I was convinced that the group of Aulia (holy mystics) is the only truthful group who follow the right path, display best conduct and surpass all sages in their wisdom and insight. They derive all their overt or covert behaviour from the illumining guidance of the holy Prophet, the only guidance worth quest and pursuit.[citation needed]

Formalization of doctrine 

In the eleventh-century, Sufism, which had previously been a less “codified” trend in Islamic piety, began to be “ordered and crystallized”[57] into orders which have continued until the present day.[57] All these orders were founded by a major Islamic saint, and some of the largest and most widespread included the Qadiriyya (after Abdul-Qadir Gilani [d. 1166]), the Rifa’iyya (after Ahmed al-Rifa’i [d. 1182]), the Chishtiyya (after Moinuddin Chishti [d. 1236]), the Shadiliyya (after Abul Hasan ash-Shadhili [d. 1258]), and the Naqshbandiyya (after Baha-ud-Din Naqshband Bukhari [d. 1389]).

[57]Contrary to popular perception in the West,[58] however, neither the founders of these orders nor their followers ever considered themselves to be anything other than orthodox Sunni Muslims,[58]and in fact all of these orders were attached to one of the four orthodox legal schools of Sunni Islam.[59][60] Thus, the Qadiriyya order was Hanbali, with its founder, Abdul-Qadir Gilani, being a renowned Hanbali jurist; the Chishtiyya was Hanafi; the Shadiliyya order was Maliki; and the Naqshbandiyya order was Hanafi.

[61] Thus, it is precisely because it is historically proven that “many of the most eminent defenders of Islamic orthodoxy, such as Abdul-Qadir GilaniGhazali, and the Sultan Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn (Saladin) were connected with Sufism”[62] that the popular studies of writers like Idris Shah are continuously disregarded by scholars as conveying the fallacious image that “Sufism” is somehow distinct from “Islam.”[63][64][62][65]

Towards the end of the first millennium, a number of manuals began to be written summarizing the doctrines of Sufism and describing some typical Sufi practices. Two of the most famous of these are now available in English translation: the Kashf al-Mahjûb of Ali Hujwiri and the Risâla of Al-Qushayri.[66]

Two of al-Ghazali‘s greatest treatises are the Revival of Religious Sciences and what he termed “its essence”, the Kimiya-yi sa’ādat. He argued that Sufism originated from the Qur’an and thus was compatible with mainstream Islamic thought and did not in any way contradict Islamic Law—being instead necessary to its complete fulfillment. Ongoing efforts by both traditionally trained Muslim scholars and Western academics are making al-Ghazali’s works more widely available in English translation, allowing English-speaking readers to judge for themselves the compatibility of Islamic Law and Sufi doctrine. Several sections of the Revival of Religious Sciences have been published in translation by the Islamic Texts Society.[67] An abridged translation (from an Urdu translation) of The Alchemy of Happiness was published by Claud Field (ISBN 978-0935782288) in 1910. It has been translated in full by Muhammad Asim Bilal (2001).[68]

Growth of influence 

Afaq Khoja Mausoleum near KashgarChina

Historically, Sufism became “an incredibly important part of Islam” and “one of the most widespread and omnipresent aspects of Muslim life” in Islamic civilization from the early medieval period onwards,[59][69] when it began to permeate nearly all major aspects of Sunni Islamic life in regions stretching from India and Iraq to the Balkans and Senegal.[54]

The rise of Islamic civilization coincides strongly with the spread of Sufi philosophy in Islam. The spread of Sufism has been considered a definitive factor in the spread of Islam, and in the creation of integrally Islamic cultures, especially in Africa[70] and Asia. The Senussi tribes of Libya and the Sudan are one of the strongest adherents of Sufism. Sufi poets and philosophers such as Khoja Akhmet YassawiRumi, and Attar of Nishapur (c. 1145 – c. 1221) greatly enhanced the spread of Islamic culture in AnatoliaCentral Asia, and South Asia.[71][72] Sufism also played a role in creating and propagating the culture of the Ottoman world,[73] and in resisting European imperialism in North Africa and South Asia.[74]

Between the 13th and 16th centuries, Sufism produced a flourishing intellectual culture throughout the Islamic world, a “Golden Age” whose physical artifacts survive. In many places a person or group would endow a waqf to maintain a lodge (known variously as a zawiyakhanqah, or tekke) to provide a gathering place for Sufi adepts, as well as lodging for itinerant seekers of knowledge. The same system of endowments could also pay for a complex of buildings, such as that surrounding the Süleymaniye Mosque in Istanbul, including a lodge for Sufi seekers, a hospice with kitchens where these seekers could serve the poor and/or complete a period of initiation, a library, and other structures. No important domain in the civilization of Islam remained unaffected by Sufism in this period.[75]


Sufism continued to remain a crucial part of daily Islamic life until the twentieth century, when its historical influence upon Islamic civilization began to be undermined by modernism[76] as well as be combated by the rise of Salafism   and Wahhabism.[54]

[77] Islamic scholar Timothy Winter has remarked: 

“[In] classical, mainstream, medieval Sunni Islam … [the idea of] ‘orthodox Islam’ would not … [have been possible] without Sufism,”[59] and that the classical belief in Sufism being an essential component of Islam has only weakened in some quarters of the Islamic world “a generation or two ago” with the rise of Salafism.[59] In the modern world, the classical interpretation of Sunni orthodoxy, which sees in Sufism an essential dimension of Islam alongside the disciplines of  jurisprudence  and theology, is represented by institutions such as Egypt‘s Al-Azhar University and Zaytuna College, with Al-Azhar’s current Grand Imam Ahmed el-Tayeb recently defining “Sunni orthodoxy” as being a follower “of any of the four schools of [legal] thought (HanafiShafi’iMaliki or Hanbali) and … [also] of the Sufism of Imam Junayd of Baghdad in doctrines, manners and [spiritual] purification.”[60]

Mawlānā Rumi‘s tomb, Konya, Turkey

Current Sufi orders include  AliansBektashi OrderMevlevi OrderBa ‘AlawiyyaChishti OrderJerrahiNaqshbandiMujaddidiNi’matullāhīQadiriyyaQalandariyyaSarwari QadiriyyaShadhiliyyaSuhrawardiyyaAshrafi Family, Saifiah (Naqshbandiah), and Uwaisi.[53] The relationship of Sufi orders to modern societies is usually defined by their relationship to governments.[78]

Turkey and Persia together have been a center for many Sufi lineages and orders. The Bektashi were closely affiliated with the Ottoman Janissaries and is the heart of Turkey’s large and mostly liberal Alevi population. It has spread westwards to CyprusGreeceAlbaniaBulgariaRepublic of MacedoniaBosnia and HerzegovinaKosovo, and, more recently, to the United States via Albania.

Sufism is popular in such African countries as EgyptTunisiaAlgeriaMorocco, and Senegal, where it is seen as a mystical expression of Islam.[79]Sufism is traditional in Morocco but has seen a growing revival with the renewal of Sufism under contemporary spiritual teachers such as Hamza al Qadiri al Boutchichi. Mbacke suggests that one reason Sufism has taken hold in Senegal is because it can accommodate local beliefs and customs, which tend toward the mystical.[80]

The life of the Algerian Sufi master Abdelkader El Djezairi is instructive in this regard.[81] Notable as well are the lives of Amadou Bamba and El Hadj Umar Tall in West Africa, and Sheikh Mansur and Imam Shamil in the Caucasus. In the twentieth century, some Muslims have called Sufism a superstitious religion that holds back Islamic achievement in the fields of science and technology.[82]

A number of Westerners have embarked with varying degrees of success on the path of Sufism. One of the first to return to Europe as an official representative of a Sufi order, and with the specific purpose to spread Sufism in Western Europe, was the Swedish-born wandering Sufi Ivan AguéliRené Guénon, the French scholar, became a Sufi in the early twentieth century and was known as Sheikh Abdul Wahid Yahya. His manifold writings defined the practice of Sufism as the essence of Islam but also pointed to the universality of its message. Other spiritualists, such as George Gurdjieff, may or may not conform to the tenets of Sufism as understood by orthodox Muslims.

Other noteworthy Sufi teachers who have been active in the West in recent years include Bawa MuhaiyaddeenInayat KhanNazim Al-HaqqaniJavad NurbakhshBulent RaufIrina TweedieIdries ShahMuzaffer OzakNahid Angha, and Ali Kianfar.

Currently active Sufi academics and publishers include Llewellyn Vaughan-LeeNuh Ha Mim KellerAbdullah Nooruddeen DurkeeWaheed AshrafOmer Tarin, Ahmed abdu r Rashid and Timothy Winter.

Aims and objectivesEdit

The tomb of Rukn-e-Alam located in Multan, Pakistan. Known for its Sufi tombs, Multan is often called the City of Saints.

While all Muslims believe that they are on the pathway to Allah and hope to become close to God in Paradise—after death and after the Last Judgment—Sufis also believe that it is possible to draw closer to God and to more fully embrace the divine presence in this life.[83] The chief aim of all Sufis is to seek the pleasing of God by working to restore within themselves the primordial state of fitra,[84] described in the Quran. In this state nothing one does defies God, and all is undertaken with the single motivation of ishq.

To Sufis, the outer law consists of rules pertaining to worship, transactions, marriage, judicial rulings, and criminal law—what is often referred to, broadly, as “qanun“. The inner law of Sufism consists of rules about repentance from sin, the purging of contemptible qualities and evil traits of character, and adornment with virtues and good character.[85]


Entrance of Sidi Boumediene Mosque in TlemcenAlgeria, built to honor the 12th-century Sufi master Abu Madyan

To the Sufi, it is the transmission of divine light from the teacher’s heart to the heart of the student, rather than worldly knowledge, that allows the adept to progress. They further believe that the teacher should attempt inerrantly to follow the Divine Law.[86]

According to Moojan Momen “one of the most important doctrines of Sufism is the concept of al-Insan al-Kamil “the Perfect Man”. This doctrine states that there will always exist upon the earth a “Qutb” (Pole or Axis of the Universe)—a man who is the perfect channel of grace from God to man and in a state of wilayah (sanctity, being under the protection of Allah). The concept of the Sufi Qutb is similar to that of the Shi’i Imam.[87][88] However, this belief puts Sufism in “direct conflict” with Shia Islam, since both the Qutb (who for most Sufi orders is the head of the order) and the Imam fulfill the role of “the purveyor of spiritual guidance and of Allah’s grace to mankind”. The vow of obedience to the Shaykh or Qutb which is taken by Sufis is considered incompatible with devotion to the Imam”.[87]

As a further example, the prospective adherent of the Mevlevi Order would have been ordered to serve in the kitchens of a hospice for the poor for 1001 days prior to being accepted for spiritual instruction, and a further 1,001 days in solitary retreat as a precondition of completing that instruction.[89]

The Darbar Sharif of Shams Ali Qalandar, located in Hujra Shah Muqeem, Pakistan

Some teachers, especially when addressing more general audiences, or mixed groups of Muslims and non-Muslims, make extensive use of parableallegory, and metaphor.[90] Although approaches to teaching vary among different Sufi orders, Sufism as a whole is primarily concerned with direct personal experience, and as such has sometimes been compared to other, non-Islamic forms of mysticism (e.g., as in the books of Hossein Nasr).

Many Sufi believe that to reach the highest levels of success in Sufism typically requires that the disciple live with and serve the teacher for a long period of time.[citation needed] An example is the folk story about Baha-ud-Din Naqshband Bukhari, who gave his name to the Naqshbandi Order. He is believed to have served his first teacher, Sayyid Muhammad Baba As-Samasi, for 20 years, until as-Samasi died. He is said to then have served several other teachers for lengthy periods of time. He is said to have helped the poorer members of the community for many years and after this concluded his teacher directed him to care for animals cleaning their wounds, and assisting them.[91]


Devotion to Muhammad is an exceptionally strong practice within Sufism.[93] Sufis have historically revered Muhammad as the prime personality of spiritual greatness. The Sufi poet Saadi Shirazi stated, “He who chooses a path contrary to that of the prophet [Muhammad], shall never reach the destination. O Saadi, do not think that one can treat that way of purity except in the wake of the chosen one [Muhammad].”[94] Rumi attributes his self-control and abstinence from worldly desires as qualities attained by him through the guidance of Muhammad. Rumi states, “I ‘sewed’ my two eyes shut from [desires for] this world and the next – this I learned from Muhammad.”[95] Ibn Arabi regards Muhammad as the greatest man and states, “Muhammad’s wisdom is uniqueness (fardiya) because he is the most perfect existent creature of this human species. For this reason, the command began with him and was sealed with him. He was a Prophet while Adam was between water and clay, and his elemental structure is the Seal of the Prophets.”[96] Attar of Nishapur claimed that he praised Muhammad in such a manner that was not done before by any poet, in his book the Ilahi-nama.[97]Fariduddin Attar stated, “Muhammad is the exemplar to both worlds, the guide of the descendants of Adam. He is the sun of creation, the moon of the celestial spheres, the all-seeing eye…The seven heavens and the eight gardens of paradise were created for him, he is both the eye and the light in the light of our eyes.”[98] Sufis have historically stressed the importance of Muhammad’s perfection and his ability to intercede. The persona of Muhammad has historically been and remains an integral and critical aspect of Sufi belief and practice.[93] Bayazid Bastami is recorded to have been so devoted to the sunnah of Muhammad that he refused to eat a watermelon due to the fact that he could not establish that Muhammad ever ate one.[99]

The name of Muhammad in Arabic calligraphy. Sufis believe the name of Muhammad is holy and sacred.

In the 13th century, a Sufi poet from EgyptAl-Busiri, wrote the al-Kawākib ad-Durrīya fī Madḥ Khayr al-Barīya (The Celestial Lights in Praise of the Best of Creation) commonly referred to as Qaṣīdat al-Burda (“Poem of the Mantle”), in which he extensively praised Muhammad.[100] This poem is still widely recited and sung amongst Sufi groups all over the world.[100]

Sufi beliefs about MuhammadEdit

According to Ibn Arabi, Islam is the best religion because of Muhammad.[13] Ibn Arabi regards that the first entity that was brought into existence is the reality or essence of Muhammad (al-ḥaqīqa al-Muhammadiyya). Ibn Arabi regards Muhammad as the supreme human being and master of all creatures. Muhammad is therefore the primary role-model for human beings to aspire to emulate.[13] Ibn Arabi believes that God’s attributes and names are manifested in this world and that the most complete and perfect display of these divine attributes and names are seen in Muhammad.[13] Ibn Arabi believes that one may see God in the mirror of Muhammad, meaning that the divine attributes of God are manifested through Muhammad.[13] Ibn Arabi maintains that Muhammad is the best proof of God and by knowing Muhammad one knows God.[13] Ibn Arabi also maintains that Muhammad is the master of all of humanity in both this world and the afterlife. In this view, Islam is the best religion, because Muhammad is Islam.[13]

Sufis maintain that Muhammad is Al-Insān al-Kāmil. Sufis believe that aid and support may be received from Muhammad, even today. Sufis believe that Muhammad listens to them when they call upon him. Sufis strive towards having a relationship with Muhammad and seeking to see Muhammad in a dream is a common Sufi practice.

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Mansur al-Hallaj 

Mansur al-Hallaj 

(Arabic: ابو المغيث الحسين بن منصور الحلاج‎‎ Abū ‘l-Muġīṭ Al-Ḥusayn bin Manṣūr al-Ḥallāğ

Persian: منصور حلاج‎‎ Mansūr-e Ḥallāj

(c. 858 – 26 March 922) 

(Hijri c. 244 AH – 309 AH) 

was a Persian[5][6] mystic, poet and teacher of Sufism.[7] 

He is most famous for his saying: “I am the Truth” (Ana ‘l-Ḥaqq), which many saw as a claim to divinity, while others interpreted it as an instance of mystical annihilation of the ego which allows God to speak through the individual. 

Al-Hallaj gained a wide following as a preacher before he became implicated in power struggles of the Abbasid court and was executed after a long period of confinement on religious and political charges. Although most of his Sufi contemporaries disapproved of his actions, Hallaj later became a major figure in the Sufi tradition.

Mansur al-Hallaj

The execution of Mansur Al-Hallaj (manuscript illustration from Mughal India, circa 1600)[1]

Born858 CE


Died26 March 922 CE[2]


Ethnicity Persian



Creed IslamSunni[3][4]

Influenced by

Dhul-Nun al-MisriBayazid Bastami


Hafiz ShiraziAttar of NishapurSanaiRumiBalım SultanSachal Sarmast


Early years 

Al-Hallaj was born around 858 in Fars province of Persia to a cotton-carder (Hallaj means “cotton-carder” in Arabic) in an Arabized town called al-Bayḍā’.[8]His grandfather was a Zoroastrian.[7] His father moved to a town in Wasit famous for its school of Quran reciters.[8] Al-Hallaj memorized the Qur’an before he was 12 years old and would often retreat from worldly pursuits to join other mystics in study at the school of Sahl al-Tustari.[8] During this period Al-Hallaj lost his ability to speak Persian and later wrote exclusively in Arabic.[7][8]

When he was twenty, al-Hallaj moved to Basra, where he married and received his Sufi habit from ‘Amr Makkī, although his lifelong and monogamous marriage later provoked jealousy and opposition from the latter.[8] Through his brother-in-law, al-Hallaj found himself in contact with a clan which supported the ZaydiZanj rebellion, which had elements of Shi’i school of thought.[8] He retained from this period some apparently  Shi’i expressions, but he remained faithful to Sunnism.[3][4][8]

He later went to Baghdad to consult the famous Sufi teacher Junayd Baghdadi, but he was tired of the conflict that existed between his father-in-law and ‘Amr Makkī and he set out on a pilgrimage to Mecca, against the advice of Junayd Baghdadi, as soon as the Zanj rebellion was crushed.[8]

Pilgrimages and travels 

In Mecca he made a vow to remain for one year in the courtyard of the sanctuary in fasting and total silence.[8]When he returned from Mecca, he laid down the Sufi tunic and adopted a “lay habit” in order to be able to preach more freely.[8] At that time a number of Sunnis, including former Christians who would later become viziers at the Abbasid court, became his disciples, but other Sufis were scandalized, while some  Muʿtazilis and Shias who held high posts in the government accused him of deception and incited the mob against him.[8] Al-Hallaj left for eastern Iran and remained there for five years, preaching in the Arab colonies and fortified monasteries that housed volunteer fighters in the jihad, after which he was able to return and install his family in Baghdad.[8]

Al-Hallaj made his second pilgrimage to Mecca with four hundred disciples, where some Sufis, his former friends, accused him of sorcery and making a pact with the jinn.[8] Afterwards he set out on a long voyage that took him to India and Turkestan beyond the frontiers of Islamic lands.[8] About 290/902 he returned to Mecca for his final pilgrimage clad in an Indian loin-cloth and a patched garment over his shoulders.[8] There he prayed to God to be made despised and rejected, so that God alone might grant grace to Himself through His servant’s lips.[8]

Imprisonment and execution 

After returning to his family in Baghdad, al-Hallaj began making proclamations that aroused popular emotion and caused anxiety among the educated classes.[8] These included avowing his burning love of God and his desire to “die accursed for the Community”, and statements such as “O Muslims, save me from God” … “God has made my blood lawful to you: kill me”.[8] It was at that time that al-Hallaj is said to have pronounced his famous shath “I am the Truth”.[8] He was denounced at the court, but a Shafi’i jurist refused to condemn him, stating that mystic inspiration was beyond his jurisdiction.[8]

The Execution of Mansur Hallaj. Watercolor from Mughal India circa 1600.[9]

Al-Hallaj’s preaching had by now inspired a movement for moral and political reform in Baghdad.[8] In 296/908 Sunni reformers made an unsuccessful attempt to depose the underage caliph Al-Muqtadir.[8] When he was restored, his Shi’i vizier unleashed anti-Hanbali repressions which prompted al-Hallaj to flee Baghdad, but three years later he was arrested, brought back, and put in prison, where he remained for nine years.[8]

The conditions of Al-Hallaj’s confinement varied depending on the relative sway his opponents and supporters held at the court,[8] but he was finally condemned to death in 922 on the charge of being a Qarmatian rebel who wished to destroy the Kaaba, because he had said “the important thing is to proceed seven times around the Kaaba of one’s heart.”[10] According to another report, the pretext was his recommendation to build local replicas of the Kaaba for those who are unable to make the pilgrimage to Mecca.[7] The queen-mother interceded with the caliph who initially revoked the execution order, but the intrigues of the vizier finally moved him to approve it.[10] On 23 Dhu ‘l-Qa‘da (25 March) trumpets announced his execution the next day.[10] The words he spoke during the last night in his cell are collected in Akhbar al-Hallaj.[10]Thousands of people witnessed his execution on the banks of the Tigris River. He was first punched in the face by his executioner, then lashed until unconscious, and then decapitated[11][12]or hanged.7] 

Witnesses reported that Al-Hallaj’s last words under torture were “all that matters for the ecstatic is that the Unique should reduce him to Unity,” after which he recited the Quranic verse 42:18.[10] His body was doused in oil and set alight, and his ashes were then scattered into the river.[7] A cenotaph was “quickly” built on the site of his execution, and “drew pilgrims for a millennium”[13] until being swept away by a Tigris flood during the 1920s.[14]

Some question whether al-Hallaj was executed for religious reasons as has been commonly assumed. According to Carl W. Ernst, the legal notion of blasphemy was not clearly defined in Islamic law and statements of this kind were treated inconsistently by legal authorities.[15] In practice, since apostasy was subsumed under the category of zandaqa, which reflected the Zoroastrian legacy of viewing heresy as a political crime, they were prosecuted only when it was politically convenient.[15] Sadakat Kadri points out that “it was far from conventional to punish heresy in the tenth century,” and it is thought he would have been spared execution except that the vizier of Caliph Al-Muqtadir wished to discredit “certain figures who had associated themselves” with al-Hallaj.[16] (Previously al-Hallaj had been punished for talking about being at one with God by being shaved, pilloried and beaten with the flat of a sword, not executed because the Shafi’ite judge had ruled that his words were not “proof of disbelief.”[16])[17]

Teachings and practices 

Al-Hallaj addressed himself to popular audiences encouraging them to find God inside their own souls, which earned him the title of “the carder of innermost souls” (ḥallāj al-asrār).[7] He preached without the traditional Sufi habit and used language famililar to the local Shi’i population.[7] This may have given the impression that he was a Qarmatian missionary rather than a Sufi.[7] His prayer to God to make him lost and despised can be regarded as typical for a Sufi seeking annihilation in God, although Louis Massignon has interpreted it as an expression of a desire to sacrifice himself as atonement on behalf of all Muslims.[7] When al-Hallaj returned to Baghdad from his last pilgrimage to Mecca, he built a model of the Kaaba in his home for private worship.[7]

Al-Hallaj was popularly credited with numerous supernatural acts. He was said to have “lit four hundred oil lamps in Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre with his finger and extinguishe d an eternal Zoroastrian   flame with the tug of a sleeve.”[11]

Among other Sufis, Al-Hallaj was an anomaly. Many Sufi masters felt that it was inappropriate to share mysticism  with the masses,  yet Al-Hallaj openly did so in his writings and through his teachings. This was exacerbated by occasions when he would fall into trances which he attributed to being in the presence of God.

There are conflicting reports about his most famous shath, أنا الحق Anā l-Ḥaqq “I am The Truth, ” which was taken to mean that he was claiming to be God, since al-Ḥaqq “the Truth” is one of the Ninety Nine Names of Allah

The earliest report, coming from a hostile account of Basra grammarians, states that he said it in the mosque of Al-Mansur, while testimonies that emerged decades later claimed that it was said in private during consultations with Junayd Baghdadi.[7][8]Regardless of the details, this utterance has become inseparably associated with his execution in the popular imagination, owing in part to its inclusion in his biography by Attar of Nishapur.[7] 

In another controversial statement, al-Hallaj claimed “There is nothing wrapped in my turban but God, ” and similarly he would point to his cloak and say, ما في جبتي إلا الله Mā fī jubbatī illā l-Lāh “There is nothing in my cloak but God.” He also wrote:

“I saw my Lord with the eye of the heart

I asked, ‘Who are You?’
He replied, ‘You’.[18]


Al-Hallaj’s principal works, all written in Arabic, included:[10]

Twenty-seven Riwāyāt (stories or narratives) collected by his disciples in about 290/902.Kitāb al-Tawāsīn, a series of eleven short works.Poems collected in Dīwān al Hallāj. Pronouncements including those of his last night collected in Akhbār al-Hallāj.

His best known written work is the Book of al-Tawasin (كتاب الطواسين),[19] in which he used line diagrams and symbols to help him convey mystical experiences that he could not express in words.[7]Ṭawāsīn is the broken plural of the word ṭā-sīn which spells out the letters ṭā (ط) and sīn (س) placed for unknown reasons at the start of some surahs in the Quran.[19] Two of the chapters are devoted to a dialogue of Satan (Iblis) and God, where Satan refuses to bow to Adam, although God asks him to do so. His refusal is due to a misconceived idea of God’s uniqueness and because of his refusal to abandon himself to God in love. Hallaj criticizes the staleness of his adoration (Mason, 51-3). Al-Hallaj stated in this book:[20]

If you do not recognize God, at least recognize His sign, I am the creative truth —Ana al-Haqq—,
because through the truth, I am eternal truth.

Classical era views

Few figures in Islam provoked as much debate among classical commentators as al-Hallaj.[21] The controversy cut across doctrinal categories.[21] In virtually every major current of juridical and theological thought (ImamiMalikiHanbaliHanafiShafi’iAsh’ari, and Maturidi) one finds his detractors and others who accepted his legacy completely or justified his statements with some excuse.[21] His admirers among philosophers included Ibn TufaylSuhrawardi, and Mulla Sadra.[21]

Although the majority of early Sufi teachers condemned him, he was almost unanimously canonized by later generations of Sufis.[21] The principal Sufi interpretation of the  shathiyat  which took the form of “I am” sayings contrasted the permanence (baqā’) of God with the mystical annihilation (fanā’) of the individual ego, which made it possible for God to speak through the individual.[15] Some Sufi authors claimed that such utterances were misquotations or attributed them to immaturity, madness or intoxication, while others regarded them as authentic expressions of spiritual states, even profoundest experience of divine realities, which should not be manifested to the unworthy.[15] 

Some of them, including al-Ghazali, showed ambivalence about their apparently blasphemous nature while admiring the spiritual status of their authors.[15] Rumi wrote: “When the pen (of authority) is in the hand of a traitor, unquestionably Mansur is on a gibbet”[22]

Modern views

The writings of al-Hallaj are important to Sufi groups. His example is seen by some as one that should be emulated, especially his calm demeanor in the face of torture and his forgiving of his tormentors. Many honor him as an adept who came to realize the inherent divine nature of all men and women. While many Sufis theorize that Hallaj was a reflection of God’s truth, scholars of the other Islamic schools of thought continue to see him as a heretic and a deviant.[citation needed]

The supporters of Mansur have interpreted his statement as meaning, “God has emptied me of everything but Himself. ” According to them, Mansur never denied God’s oneness and was a strict monotheist. However, he believed that the actions of man, when performed in total accordance with God’s pleasure, lead to a blissful unification with Him.[23] There was a belief among European historians that al-Hallaj was secretly a Christian, until the French scholar Louis Massignon presented his legacy in the context of Islamic mysticism in his four-volume work La Passion de Husayn ibn Mansûr Hallâj.[7]

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                      AL- HALLAJ

                       FROM THE

     CHAPTER ON THE EXPOSITION                        

               OF THE BELIEFS OF

       THIS FOLD [THE SUFIS] ON                                   


(Faslun fî bayân i‘tiqâd hâdhihi al-                     tâ’ifa fî masâ’il al-usûl)

   AL-QUSHAYRI’S RISALA ILA AL-         .                        SUFIYYA

[The numbering in brackets corresponds to our forthcoming translation of the paragraph chapters of al-Qushayri’s entire Chapter on Doctrine from the beginning of his Risala (Eds. ‘Abd al-Halim Mahmud and Mahmud ibn al-Sharif. Cairo: Rida Tawfiq ‘Afifi, 1974.)]
AL-HALLAJ is Abu Mughith al-Husayn ibn Mansur al-Hallaj al-Baydawi al-Wasiti (d. 309) the ascetic, he hailed from Persia and was raised in Iraq. He first accompanied al-Junayd, al-Nuri and others then became known in 299. 

After accusations were raised to the ‘Abbasi Caliph al-Muqtadir Billah he was jailed on charges of heresy, then tortured to death in unspeakable fashion. Many if not most of the Ulema consider him one of the Friends (awliyâ’) of Allah, such as Ibn Khafif who visited him in jail, Abu al-Qasim al-Nasir Abadi, al-Qushayri, Ibn ‘Ata’ Allah, Ibn al-Hajj, Ibn ‘Aqil – who wrote Juz’ fi Nasr Karamat al-Hallaj (“Opuscule in Praise of al-Hallaj’s gifts”) –, Ibn Qudama, al-Tufi, Ibn al-Mulaqqin, al-Munawi, al-Sha‘rani, etc. 

Among his sayings: 
“Take care of your ego; if you do not make it busy, it shall make you busy”

“Whoever points to Him is an aspirant-Sufi whereas whoever points on His behalf is a Sufi.”
AL-QUSHAYRI is Zayn al-Islam Abu al-Qasim ‘Abd al-Karim ibn Hawzan ibn ‘Abd al-Malik ibn Talha ibn Muhammad al-Qushayri al-Naysaburi al-Istiwa’i al-Shafi‘i al-Ash‘ari (376-465), the Teacher, “the absolute Imam, jurist, mutakallim, scholar of Principles, Qur’anic commentator, man of letters, grammarian, writer, and poet, the spokesman of his time, leader among his contempo­raries, the secret of Allah in His creation, the Shaykh of shaykhs, the Teacher of the Congregation and most advanced one of the Fold, the goal of those who tread the Path, the ensign of Truth, wellspring of Felic­ity, pole of Leadership, and grace personified.
He never saw such as himself nor did any who saw him ever see such as him in his perfection and brilliance. He gathered together the two sciences of Sharî‘a and  Haqîqa and explained in the best manner the principles of the Path” (‘Abd al-Ghafir al-Farisi). He was also an expert in horse and swords­manship. His Risala ila al-Sufiyya is the earliest complete treatise of its kind and probably the most respected Sufi treatise in Islam.
[16] Shaykh Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami – Allah have mercy on him! – told us: I heard Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Ghalib say: I heard Abu Nasr Ahmad ibn Sa‘id al-Isfanjani say: al-Husayn ibn Mansur said: 
“You must categorically consider all to be contingent, for pre-existence belongs to Him [alone].
[17] “All that appears through body is necessarily an accident (‘arad).
[18] “That whose assemblage comes about through cause-and-effect (al-adât) is held together through its powers (quwâhâ).[1]
[19] “All that comes together at one time, goes into dispersion at another time.
[20] “All that something else causes to subsist is characterized by dependency.
[21] “All that imagination can possibly apprehend can be pictured.
[22] “All that is contained is subject to ‘where.’
[23] “And all that has a genus is the object of a modality.
[24] “No ‘above’ shades Him – Exalted is He! – nor does any ‘below’ carry Him.p
[25] “No limit/direction faces Him (walâ yuqâbiluhu hadd) nor does any ‘at’ (‘ind) beset Him.
[26] “He is not confined by any ‘behind’ nor limited by any ‘before’.
[27] “No ‘before’ caused Him to appear nor did any ‘after’ cause Him to vanish.
[28] “No ‘all’ gathered Him.
[29] “No ‘He is’ brought Him into existence (lam yûjidhu kân).
[30] “No ‘He is not’ can cause Him to be missed (walam yufqidhu lays).
[31] “His description: He has none (wasfuhu lâ sifata lahu).[2]
[32] “His act has no cause (‘illa).
[33] “His being has no duration (amad).
[34] “He is transcendent beyond the states of His creatures: there is not for Him the least deliberation  (mizâj) in His creation, nor working  (‘ilâj) in His acts.
[35] “He is clearly separate from them by His pre-existence  (bâyanahum biqidamih) just as they are clearly separate from Him by their contingent nature (kamâ bâyanûh bihudûthihim).[3]
[36] “If you ask ‘When?’ – His being is before Time.
[37] “Should you say, ‘HÛ’ – the letters hâ’ and wâw are but His creation.
[38] “And if you say, ‘Where?’ – His existence precedes Place.
[39] “So letters are His Signs (fal-hurûfu âyâtuhu);[4]
[40] “His existence is the affirmation of Him (wujûduhu ithbâtuh);[5]
[41] “Gnosis of Him is the upholding of His Oneness (ma‘rifatuhu tawhîduh);[6]
[42] “and His Tawhîd is to distinguish Him clearly from His creatures.
[43] “Whatever you imagine in your imaginings, He is different from that (mâ tusawwiru fil-awhâmi fahuwa bikhilâfih).
[44] “How can that which He Himself began analyze Him? (kayfa yahullu bihi mâ minhu bada’ahu).[7]
[45] “Or how can that be part of Him which He Himself gave rise to? (aw ya‘ûdu ilayhi mâ huwa ansha’ahu).
[46] “The pupils of the eyes cannot see Him.
[47] “Nor can conjectures apprehend Him.
[49] “His nearness is His generosity  (qurbuhu karâmatuhu).
[50] “His distance is His contempt  (wabu‘duhu ihânatuhu).
[51] His elevation is without ascent  (‘uluwwuhu min ghayri tawaqqul).[8]
[52] His coming is without displacement (wamajî’uhu min ghayri tanaqqul).[9]
[53] (He is the First and the Last and the Manifest and the Hidden) (57:3), the Near (al-qarîb), the Far (al-ba‘îd),[10] (There is nothing what­soever like unto Him, and He is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing)(42:11).
[1]“Such as life, death, poverty and wealth” (Sidi Mustafa Basir).
[2]Al-Tabari narrates in his Tafsir on verses 39:67 and 114:1 from Sa‘id ibn Jubayr, as well as Ibn al-Mundhir, Ibn Abi Hatim, Abu al-Shaykh in al-‘Azama, and al-Suyuti in al-Durr al-Manthur: 

“A group of Jews came to the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him
– and asked him: 
‘O Muhammad! Now, Allah created creation, but who created Him?’ At this the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – became angry so that his color changed and he upbraided them on behalf of His Lord, whereupon Gibril – upon him peace – came and calmed him, saying: ‘Lower your wing [of mercy], O Muhammad! for the answer came to me from Allah to what they are asking about. Allah says: 
[Say: He is Allah, the One! Allah, the eternally Besought of all! He begets not nor was begotten. And there is none comparable unto Him] (112:1-4).’ 
When the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – recited it to them they said, ‘Describe for us your Lord, what is His physical appearance, how are His arms and upper arms?’ At this the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – became even angrier than before and upbraided them again, whereupon Gibril came again and told him the same thing as before, bringing him as the answer to what they had asked: 
(And they esteem not Allah as He has the right to be esteemed. The whole earth is His handful on the Day of Resurrection and the heavens are rolled in His right hand. Glorified is He and High Exalted from all that they ascribe as partner (unto Him)) (39:67).”

[3]“I.e. he completely differs from them because (There is nothing whatso­ever like unto Him)(42:11)” (Sidi Mustafa Basir).

[4]“I.e. [letter are] the material of which are made His verses and evidences revealed to His Prophet Muhammad – Allah bless and greet him –” (Mahmud and Sharif).

[5]“I.e. It is not enough to believe He exists, but the evidence for its firm proof must be shown up and established” (Mahmud and Sharif).

[6]“I.e. Gnosis of Him with His Attributes is produced by upholding His Oneness” (Mahmud and Sharif). “Sidi ‘Abd al-Salam ibn Mashish said: 
“O Allah, my Lord! Snatch me up from the quicksands of Tawhîd and drown me in the wellspring of the ocean of your Unicity” 
(Allâhumma anshilnî min awhâli al-tawhîdi wa’aghriqnî fî ‘ayni bahri wahdâniyyatik) (Sidi Mustafa Basir). Cf. Shaykh Nuh Keller, trans., Invocations of the Shadhili Order (p. 77-78): 
“And pluck me from the mires of affirming unity, to the infinite space of singularizing the One, transcendently beyond absoluteness or conditionedness; And drown me in the very sea of Oneness” 
(wanshulnî min awhâli al-tawhîdi ilâ fadâ’i al-tafrîdi al-munazzahi ‘an al-itlâqi wal-taqyîdi wa’aghriqnî fî ‘ayni bahri al-wahda), cf. Awrad al-Tariqa al-Shadhiliyya (p. 77-78).

[7]“I.e. the mind” (Sidi Mustafa Basir).

[8]“I.e. His elevation is over His slave and consists in majesty and greatness, not an elevation of place” (Mahmud and Sharif).

[9]“I.e. the coming of His favor and descent of His command is without [His] movement or displacement” (Mahmud and Sharif).

[10]“I.e. from the disbelievers as proven by the verse [Allah is the Protecting Friend of those who believe. He brings them out of darkness into light. As for those who dis­believe, their patrons are false deities. They bring them out of light into dark­ness] (2:257)” (Sidi Mustafa Basir). This is also in the sense of bâ’in as already stated.

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The Deviant Beliefs of the Habashi’s : Comments

  The Deviant Beliefs of the Habashi’s 

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 06-21-2009, 04:14 AM  #1


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 The Deviant Beliefs of the Habashi’s


I had known a Muslim friend for a short while and after investigating why he said such weird things like “Islam was spread by the sword” and facing the Qibla Southeast when he was suppose to face Northeast (since we are located in Washington D.C) and came to find some shocking things about his beliefs that I would like my brothers and sisters to be aware of. I ask Allah swt to keep us on the straight path.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. 

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger. 

Dear sister in Islam, we would like to thank you for the great confidence you place in us, and we implore Allah Almighty to help us serve His cause and render our work for His Sake. 

We have visited the site you mentioned in your question and we came to the conclusion that this site is maily concerned with publishing information and articles about Al-Ahbash. Here, we will try our best to brief you on Al-Ahbash sect as well as their dogmas and beliefs by citing the following: 

“Al-Ahbash is a stray sect that follows `Abdullah ibn Al-Habashi. It has recently appeared in Lebanon taking advantage of the ignorance and poverty that resulted from the Lebanese civil war. It calls for the revival of the approaches of the advocates of the science of Kalam (theology), Sufis, and the Batiniyyah, with the aim of corrupting the Islamic creed, fragmenting Muslims and distracting them from their main issues. 


`Abdullah Al-Harari Al-Habashi is `Abdullah ibn Muhammad Ash-Shybi Al-`Abdary by lineage, and is called Al-Harary because he comes from the city of Harar in Abyssinya (Al-Habashah). 

He came to Lebanon in 1950 after he incited sedition against Muslims there. He joined hands with the ruler of Indragy , the son in law of Hilasilasy , against the Islamic schools for teaching Qur’an in the city of Harar in 1376 AH/1940 CE causing what is known as the sedition of the Kolob country which resulted in sentencing the manager of the schools to twenty three years of imprisonment then he was exiled to Joury county and died there. 

Moreover, the rest of the Sheikhs and callers to Islam fell in the hands of Hilasilasy who humiliated them and drove them to flee to Egypt and Saudi Arabia. That’s why `Abdullah Al-Harary was called ‘ the leader of the sedition”. 

Since he came to Lebanon he kept inciting sedition exactly as he used to do in his country and kept spreading his corrupt beliefs, insulting the Prophet’s Companions (may Allah be pleased with them all) accusing `A’ishah, the mother of the believers (may Allah be pleased with her) of not following Allah’s orders in addition to issuing wrongful fatwas. 

Al-Habashi has recently succeeded in attracting a large group of insolent fanatics who do not consider anyone as a Muslim unless he declared his submission to their leader and his corrupt creed that includes the Batinyyah and the Rafidah. 

Moreover, they force themselves on people by going to their houses and insisting that they learn the Habashi creed. 

Beliefs and dogmas: 

Reading thoroughly all that has been issued by such sect, one would clearly see that they violate the principles of Islam and its main creed. Following are some of their beliefs: 

1- Concerning creed, they follow the condemned school of Irja’. 

It is well known that the Islamic creed held by the Prophet’s Companions and their successors states that faith is a matter of declaring in words, believing in the heart and all this must be reflected in action for belief without practice and submission to Shari`ah has no place in Islam. 

However, according to them it is not necessary that faith be reflected in action and hence a person remains a believer even if he neglects all the pillars of Islam. 

2- Such a sect consider it permissible to seek the help of the dead besides instead of that of Allah and this is clearly considered in the Qur’an and Sunnah as ascribing partners to Allah. 

They urge people to do so claiming that the dead get out from their graves to fulfill the requests of those who call upon them and then get back to the graves. 

Allah Almighty says: 

“They worship beside Allah that which neither hurteth them nor profiteth them, and they say: These are our intercessors with Allah.” (Yunus: 18) 

3- They consider that the Qur’an is not the words of Allah but that of Gabriel. 

4- They claim to follow the Shafi`i School in respect to fiqh and belief. 

However, they are, in fact, very far from the principles of the School of Imam ash-Shafi`i. 

5- They claim that Allah has created the universe and sent the Messengers to humans for no purpose or wisdom and whoever attributes any of Allah’s actions to the Divine Wisdom is a mushrik. 

6- They abuse the Prophet’s Companions (may Allah be pleased with them all) particularly Mu`awiyah, `A’ishah, Khalid ibn al-Walid

They declared that Mu`awayh (may Allah be pleased with him) was not a true believer. In such case, they are similar to the Rafidah who also insult the Prophet’s Companions. [Muslims must abstain from discussing the relationship between the Prophet’s Companions and their disagreements. They must also recognize their role in promoting Islam and their being privileged with the Companionship of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). 

It is confirmed that Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Do not abuse my Companions for if any one of you spent gold equal to Mountain Uhud (in Allah’s Cause) it would not be equal to a mudd or even a half mudd spent by one of them.”‏ 

Allah Almighty says: “And those who came (into the faith) after them say: Our Lord Forgive us and our brethren who were before us in the faith, and place not in our hearts any rancor toward those who believe. Our Lord! Thou art Full of Pity, Mercifl.” (Al-Hashr: 10)] 

7- One of the most flagrant violations of this sect is their issuing of wrong fatwas that contradict the Qur’an and the Sunnah. 

For instance, they consider gambling with non-believers permissible in order to take away their money as long as this does not lead to sedition. 

Moreover, they consider robbing the harvest and the cattle of non-believers and permissible. They also consider it permissible to deal in Riba (interest) with non-Muslims, and to join lottery games. 

Moreover, one of their most obvious violations to the principles of religion is their declaration that it is permissible to look lustfully at women, on television or elsewhere, and also that intermingling between men and women without any restrictions is permissible. 

These are some examples of their weird fatwas that clearly contradict Shari`ah and consider all grave sins as permissible practices. 

8- One of their mean ways of making Mulsims abstain from following the scholars of Islam is their belittling of their status, insulting them and labeling many of them as kuffar (non-Muslims).

 Among the scholars which they labeled as kuffar Ibn Taymiyyah, Adh-Dhahabi, Muhammad ibn Abdel-Wahhab, Sayyed Sabiq, Sayyed Qutb, etc.” 

Translated excerpts, with modifications, from Al-Mawsu`ah Al-Fiqhiyyah Al-Muyassarah fi Al-Adyan wal Madhahib Al-Mu`asirah. 

In this context, we’d like to cite for you the following fatwa issued by the eminent Muslim scholar, Dr. `Ali Jum`ah, Professor of the Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence at Al-Azhar University: 

“This sect follows `Abdullah Al-Harary Al-Habashi, and it has surface and deep levels. At the surface, this sect seems to adhere to the Shafi`i School of Jurisprudence, and to Imam Al-Ash`ari’s School as regards creed. However, at the deep level, their main intention is to corrupt the Muslim creed and incite sedition amongst the Muslim Ummah. Moreover, they are paid agents to the enemies of Islam. 

After inciting sedition in Harar, `Abdullah Al-Habashi moved to Beirut where he started deceiving young men into joining his suspected group. 

He worked as an editor for publishers in Lebanon and started to cooperate with the Jews and their agents in South Lebanon. 

He started in the seventies to spread his corrupt thoughts and to declare many scholars as non-Muslims, especially Imam Ibn Taymiyyah , Imam Muhammad `Abdul Wahhab , the Hanbalis and all those who held different views from his under the pretext that they violate the principles of Imam Al-Ash`ari or what he has understood from the texts of the Shafi`is . 

Moreover, he urged his followers to incite sedition wherever they go. For instance, they cause such a controversy concerning the direction of the Qiblah in America violating all the principles of modern science claiming that they are just innovations and rejecting substantial evidence. They caused the same problem in Japan. 

In addition to causing a problem over their following other Muslims in prayers, the problem over food, the controversy over getting married to women belonging to other revealed religions and other issues that are controversial amongst Muslim scholars. 

They hold strange deviant views that have never been expressed by any Muslim sect, group or movement. 

They declared that intermingling between men and women is permissible without any restrictions, and that Muslim leaders are not true believers and that it is permissible to cooperate with non-believers. They also once spread that their leader died then they declared that it was a rumor. In such a way, they made people detest them as they were always linked with sedition. 

Several Muslim authorities warned against such a sect including: the Islamic Research Academy at Al-Azhar, the General Authority for Research, Fatwas and the Islamic call and guidance in Saudi Arabia, the Higher Council for Fatwas in Northern America. 

In order to continue deceiving people, they usually do not express their true views and intentions in the books or any of the publications that they issue. 

Even the books issued by their leader is quite ordinary and do not contain any of their aberrant views which is, in fact, part of their plan to deceive people and attract more followers. 

However, many of their followers repent and revert to the true path when they learn the truth about such sect.” 

Based on the aforementioned facts, we’d like to conclude with the following points: 

1- The Ahbash group is a stray group that is not considered among main stream Muslims and they have to revert to the true path of the Companions and their successors, both in belief and in action. 

2- It is not permissible to follow the fatwas of such sect. 

3- They are not trustworthy and people must be warned against their dangerous corrupt views. Moreover, Muslims should advise the followers of such sect to revert to the true path. 

Allah Almighty knows best. Source:…=1119503544180

See also:…D=12879&CATE=1



 06-21-2009, 05:39 AM  #2


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I’m not in any way linked with Habashies (other than having spoken with a brother of them on a flight some years ago), but this article you posted is clearly biased and expressing pseudo-salafies misunderstandings toward some point that is shared by Ahl al-Sunnah.

Also, the link by Shaykh Gibril Fuad Haddad is very biased too, since GF Haddad’s tariqa is “at war” with Habashies, who declared their Shaykh (Nazim) out of the fold of Islam.

A non-biased source would be more reliable to have a “neutral” view about them.



 06-21-2009, 06:00 AM  #3


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I’m not in any way linked with Habashies (other than having spoken with a brother of them on a flight some years ago), but this article you posted is clearly biased and expressing pseudo-salafies misunderstandings toward some point that is shared by Ahl al-Sunnah.

Also, the link by Shaykh Gibril Fuad Haddad is very biased too, since GF Haddad’s tariqa is “at war” with Habashies, who declared their Shaykh (Nazim) out of the fold of Islam.

A non-biased source would be more reliable to have a “neutral” view about them.


Brother what do you consider a “non-biased” source? 

I had a close friend from Lebanon that was a Habashi and prayed in the wrong direction? Is that not sufficient enough? He would not even perform prayers in the congregation with the rest of the Muslims? He said “Islam was spread by the sword.” He allowed some sisters to sing in his Islamic lectures?? 

Brother, the scholars of alhus sunnah wa jamat has considered them as deviant. Inshallah others can shed some light.

Also see this:



 06-21-2009, 06:17 AM  #4


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Brother what do you consider a “non-biased” source? I had a close friend from Lebanon that was a Habashi and prayed in the wrong direction? Is that not sufficient enough? He would not even perform prayers in the congregation with the rest of the Muslims?

 dear brother.

As far as I know there is some ikhtilaf about the direction of the prayer in countries like Usa: the Mauritanian Ulama (about whose rank no one will object) have the same opinion of South-East direction.

I don’t have idea about their proof, but we cannot deny this is not just an “Habashi strangeness”, but a position who is shared by other one also, and has some Fiqhi backing.

Brother, the scholars of alhus sunnah wa jamat has considered them as deviant. Inshallah others can shed some light.

Also see this:

Brother, I repeat myself: I’m not here to “defend” the Habashies; personally I don’t even agree with something of their approch, but from this to give harder judgements or spreading pseudo-salafi fatawa..

So, let’s try being more cautious before expressing clear-cut statements backed only from some biased source (salafies that hate them for their (AICP) being Ash`ari-Shafi`i-Rifa`i Sufis and being very harsh against salafies, and Haqqanies for their (AICP) harsh denounce of Haqqani Shuyukh).

Again, there is a kind of “war” between Haqqanies and Habashies; try also reading what the latters say about the formers! 😉



 06-21-2009, 06:33 AM  #5

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A sheikh whom I know and who is quite well known by many others, has also conveyed to me his disapproval of the Ahbaash and many of their strange ways. He, by the way, is not affiliated with Sheikh Nazim’s tariqa.

One needs only to read the writings of their founder to see what they’re about. If They even declared takfir of Sheikh Ramadan al-Buti (among other notable `ulemaa), whose credentials I’m sure no one here would dispute.



 06-21-2009, 08:44 PM  #6


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Assalamu Alaykum,

Firstly, I am not affiliated with the Habashis. But i do object to lies being spread about the ulama. 

Secondly, Your friends statement does not necessarily represent the views of the late Shaykh Abdallah al-Harrari al-Habashi, may Allah have Mercy on him.

Objections like, Was Islam spread by the sword?

Well firstly, this seems to be the statement of your friend, and not Shaykh al-Harrari or any of his senior students. 

But objectively, what would the answer be to such a question? Undoubtedly, Yes! To a certain extent it was. And only those insecure in their own belief as Muslims would argue this point.

Regarding the Qibla issue, like sidi Umar Italy said, some of the Mauritanian ulama would agree here. So it’s not necessarily a black and white issue. It might be that there would be a difference whether one is in the South or North of the States. I can’t really comment. 

Articles floating around the internet often leave out their sources and evidences, which doesn’t satisfy me and until then, i will consider it hearsay.

Shaykh Abdallah was a staunch (read: extreme) Ash’ari and a Rifa’i in suluk, with maybe some what of a narrow interpretation of tasawwuf. The main problem they seem to have is the issue of Takfir of the ulama.

The article objected to:

1. Irja! This is due to being an Ash’ari, and Wahhabis consider Ash’aris to be Murji’a.

2. Tawassul

3. While this matter seems a bit unclear, it is most likely that it means that the words as in that which composes of letters and sounds came to the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wassalam) from Sayyidna Jibr’il (as) and not from Allah (swt). But (many) Wahhabis believe that Allah (swt) speech is composed of letters and sounds. So once again, a clash with a classic Ash’ari understanding.

4. While i’m not sure exactly what Fiqh issues they are talking about, so i can’t really comment. As the article doesn’t clarify what they mean by that.

5. Can’t comment.

6. From what i know Ashaykh stated that Mu’awiyah was a Baghi, and put forth his reasons for saying that, including the undisputably authentic narration, Ammar will be killed by the baghis. This is a view held by many of the Salaf, as testified to by Imam Ghazali, though he (like so many other Ash’aris) favoured the opinion of it being a Ijtihad mistake on Amir Mu’awiyahs side.

7. I can’t comment on all of these things, especially since there’s no sources (given) to back up such claims, but if they consider it Dar al-Harb, then also Hanafi ulama etc accept taking interest from Kuffar etc. 

So we must be cautious before we start accusing people or even raising suspicions.

8. Them criticising ulama and going into Takfir of some. It may be that they were right in some and wrong in others. But Shaykh Abdallah had reached high levels of knowledge and understanding, and may Allah Forgive him if he erred.

It seems as if they have done Takfir of Shaykh al-Buti because according to them he said what is not permissible to say in regards to Allah (swt). So let us assume that Shaykh al-Harrari did this with pure intentions to defend the pure Aqidah of Ahl al-Sunnah. 

And before one has looked at the statements of the honourable Shaykh al-Buti, it’s not befitting to comment on whether Shaykh Abdullah al-Harrari’s objections were justified or not. Fairness is the key!

As for Shaykh Ali Jummah, i don’t know his ties to Ashaykh. Once again fairness is the key, and it’s not like Shaykh Jummah is flawless and exempt from criticism himself.




 06-21-2009, 10:19 PM  #7


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This is what Sidi Hammoudeh of the Ma’rifah Forum has to say about them…

Sidi Yahya, please note that I have also used the term “Takfiri Manhaj” and this path of theirs includes much more than this strange notion that one can become a disbeliever by denying or failing to affirm the alleged disbelief of another Muslim; it also includes amongst other things the general ease in declaring someone a disbeliever, focussing on one particular field for this, constantly increasing in their targets, going by the ‘broken-record’ rhetoric, having hatred of fellow Muslims and the fanatic hunt for faults with others; you will find these characteristics amongst any of the contemporary Takfiri methods. Shaykh Gibril mentions: “They are the same brand of insipid Kharijites as their arch-enemies the Wahhabis.” 

The result of this Manhaj is the Takfir and Tadlil of several Tariqa’s and individual scholars. I mentioned this elsewhere before, and already referred to it in this thread:

QUOTE (Hamoudeh @ Oct 5 2008, 09:18 PM) *
… and they include Shaykh Sa`id Foudah, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, the entire Naqshbandi Haqqani Tariqa of Shaykh Nazim al-Qubrusi [including Shaykh Gibril Haddad and Shaykh Hisham Kabbani], the entire Shadhili Tariqa of Shaykh Ahmad al-`Alawi [including Shaykh Muhammad al-Hashimi, Shaykh `Abd al-Qadir `Isa, Shaykh Ahmad Jami, Shaykh `Abd al-Rahman al-Shaghouri, Shaykh Nuh Keller, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, Shaykh Abu Bakr Sirajuddin and Shaykh `Abd al-Qadir al-Sufi and his Murabitun], the entire Tijani Tariqa – with ‘perhaps’ the exception of Shaykh Ahmad Tijani himself – the Bralewis, the Deobandis, yes even someone like `Amr Khalid!

I mentioned this in the context of the discussion concerning the use of the terms `illa and sabab in reference to Allah, which is one point for which they have openly declared Shaykh Muhammad Sa`id Ramadan al-Buti a disbeliever.

كيف يجرؤ من يدعي الإسلام أن يسمي الله علة…/Article_1.htm

However, I have not seen declaring anyone else a disbeliever on account of this view [such as Shaykh Nuh `Ali al-Quda], or even raised the topic or criticized anyone who teaches – such as major Islamic institutions in Syria -, recommends or even praises the Shaykh’s book in which the relevant expressions are found – such as Shaykh Sa`id Foudah -, calling him “Ghazali of the Age” for it – such as Shaykh Wahba al-Zuhayli. They claim to respect Mulla Ramadan, yet are silent on the fact that he was alive and well when his son wrote this book, and that the topic was in fact discussed between them and others. In reality, the Ahbash hate Shaykh al-Buti so much that they are willing to take every possible opportunity to attack him, and him only. That is why they have written an entire book against him, covering a number of bizarre topics and accusations:

محمد سعيد رمضان البوطي في ميزان الشريعة

Indeed, there is no doubt the Ahbash have declared Shaykh al-Buti a disbeliever and they make no secret of it. One of their students going by the name “Zahhaad” – while attacking Shaykh Faraz, Shaykh Nuh and the Shadhili Tariqa – admits this without any hesitation, stating:

Faraz said: “They declare people they disagree with kafir. This includes many scholars whose greatness this Ummah acknowledges, such as Shaykh Muhammad Sa`id Ramadan al-Buti.” … 

As for Muhammad Sa’id Ramadan al-Buti, then whoever thought to acknowledge that he is great scholar made a major error. 

[b]The reason that the Habashis declare him kafir is because he contradicted the Qur’an, the Sunnah and the Ijma^ of the scholars of Islam. Amongst his most ugly strayings is his saying about Allah that He is “al-^Illah al-Waheedah al-Kubraa al-Kaminah” …

Not only is this a very clear example of the result of their Takfiri Manhaj, it is also the first answer to the question of who, what, where; and, it is also something that has been around on the forum for over a half year, so much for the need of proof and details. 

This alone is more than enough for me, and though I have personal reasons for this, I believe that the disgusting way the Ahbash are treating one of the greatest living scholars of our times should be enough for everyone else as well. The fact that all the deviants gather in their hatred of him should be a warning of its own, as should the love he receives from the righteous and knowledgeable ones be. 

At the very least, it should be a sign that more is to come, and there certainly are many others they have treated this way – as Shaykh al-Buti himself points out. So, let’s go through the rest of the Habashi blacklist.



 11-07-2009, 11:17 AM  #8


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There should not be any doubt that the Ahbash are deviants. They are known for making takfir upon various personalities of Islam, among others Ibn Taymiyyah, Muhammad ibn Abd Wahhab, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, etc. If that is not “deviancy”, I certainly do not know what is!



 11-07-2009, 11:42 AM  #9


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I have a friend – who’s habashi she prays southeast. she’s part of an organization called aicp. their website is : Are they considered muslims because their creed is Ashari?



 11-08-2009, 12:06 AM  #10


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Brother what do you consider a “non-biased” source? I had a close friend from Lebanon that was a Habashi and prayed in the wrong direction? Is that not sufficient enough? He would not even perform prayers in the congregation with the rest of the Muslims? He said “Islam was spread by the sword.” He allowed some sisters to sing in his Islamic lectures?? 

Brother, the scholars of alhus sunnah wa jamat has considered them as deviant. Inshallah others can shed some light.

Also see this:

I’m Lebanese and I second that.




 02-12-2010, 11:17 AM  #11


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There should not be any doubt that the Ahbash are deviants. They are known for making takfir upon various personalities of Islam, among others Ibn Taymiyyah, Muhammad ibn Abd Wahhab, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, etc. If that is not “deviancy”, I certainly do not know what is!

Subhan’Allaah, you call the Ahbash deviants and you are a supporter of the biggest fitna makers in the history of Islam, the Anthropomorphists! Ha! and you have the audacity to call them deviant



 02-12-2010, 11:20 AM  #12


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Brother what do you consider a “non-biased” source? I had a close friend from Lebanon that was a Habashi and prayed in the wrong direction? Is that not sufficient enough? He would not even perform prayers in the congregation with the rest of the Muslims? He said “Islam was spread by the sword.” He allowed some sisters to sing in his Islamic lectures?? 

Brother, the scholars of alhus sunnah wa jamat has considered them as deviant. Inshallah others can shed some light.

Also see this:

Brother, did you even read this refutation? It is so weak and without substance it doesnt even match up to the reutation of the Haqqanis let alone be called a retaliated refutation. 

I swear, only for the haqq of Islam, how you attribute deviancy with validation to the Ahbash amazes me! Has anyone even verified the accusations set against them?



 02-12-2010, 03:47 PM  #13


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Ibn Taymiyyah, Muhammad ibn Abd Wahhab, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, …the Anthropomorphists! Ha! 

And the hatred of Ameer ul-Mumineen Mu’awiyah (ra) is enough.



 02-12-2010, 09:45 PM  #14


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Salam aleikoum,

since Shaykh Abdullah al-Habashi (who, despite his “easy” takfir was one of the greastest hadith specialist of our age. He had a strong ijaza in hadith from Shaykh Habib Abd-Rahman al Azami for example and knew by heart the 6 major sahih and sunan) died many scissions appeared in AICP.

A Habashi imam in Switzerland who pretends to be a close disciple said that Abdallah Harari’s students were too extrem and that wasn’t the shaykh behaviour.

Allahu ‘alam.

Wa salam



 02-12-2010, 10:11 PM  #15


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And the hatred of Ameer ul-Mumineen Mu’awiyah (ra) is enough.

Your accusations are way off. Na’outhibillaah. I hope you have not spread this rumour far for you may will be questioned about gossiping and lying.

Do you think I would acquaint myself with such people if this was the case. Bring a proof, ANY proof this has been said by Sheikh Abdullaah. I await you, and I will wait as long as you want. I will take it in form of writing, book name, recording, video, what ever you like attributed to him, if you are able to possess such a thing, but there isnt any existence. May Allaah guide you and me.



 02-12-2010, 10:18 PM  #16


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Paladin, if you are talking about the “extreme” attitude towards anthropomorphism/tajseem, incorrect ‘aqidah, statements belying the Qur’an/ahadith and the like, then be sure, he was not extreme but only doing what every accountable muslim should be doing, bidding the lawful and forbidding the unlawful. 

As for the “easy” takfeer, be sure that I have yet to date heard an “easy” takfeer without justification of its reason AND 1st advising the person of their error.

Some people say they are too extreme, then I would say these people dont care about preserving the truth. Only a blind hearted person will ignore the horrendous things being implented into our great religion!

Furthermore, I can find many scholars today who are on the same path as Sheikh Abdullaah’s (rahimaullaah) teachings. 

Subhan’Allaah, but many of the Ahlusunna have fell for the tajseemi’s lies and accusations and do not realise that they are aiding them in disuniting the sunnis. Subhan’Allaah, may Allaah guide us.



 02-13-2010, 12:04 AM  #17


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Here in Germany there are some Habashis. They tried to stop the “Salafi” Dawah… (Note: Here in Germany the only Dawah to Islam is the “Salafi” Dawah)…. they failed to stop the “Salafi” Dawah…. the Habashis in Germany are really a joke… may ALLAH swt guide them on sirat al mustaqim! 




 02-13-2010, 06:16 AM  #18


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Paladin, if you are talking about the “extreme” attitude towards anthropomorphism/tajseem, incorrect ‘aqidah, statements belying the Qur’an/ahadith and the like, then be sure, he was not extreme but only doing what every accountable muslim should be doing, bidding the lawful and forbidding the unlawful. As for the “easy” takfeer, be sure that I have yet to date heard an “easy” takfeer without justification of its reason AND 1st advising the person of their error.

Some people say they are too extreme, then I would say these people dont care about preserving the truth. Only a blind hearted person will ignore the horrendous things being implented into our great religion!

Furthermore, I can find many scholars today who are on the same path as Sheikh Abdullaah’s (rahimaullaah) teachings. Subhan’Allaah, but many of the Ahlusunna have fell for the tajseemi’s lies and accusations and do not realise that they are aiding them in disuniting the sunnis. Subhan’Allaah, may Allaah guide us.

Brother, you’re really making yourself look like a Habashi.



 02-13-2010, 10:14 AM  #19


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Brother, you’re really making yourself look like a Habashi.

Habib, who said I was trying not to?



 02-13-2010, 10:16 AM  #20


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Here in Germany there are some Habashis. They tried to stop the “Salafi” Dawah… (Note: Here in Germany the only Dawah to Islam is the “Salafi” Dawah)…. they failed to stop the “Salafi” Dawah…. the Habashis in Germany are really a joke… may ALLAH swt guide them on sirat al mustaqim! 


Subhan’Allaah, even though they are trying with everything they have, you call them a joke? Im guessing you do not agree with the “salafi” dawah, please explain how you have also tried to preserve the truth of this ummah?



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 Sufi–Salafi Relations

               Sufi–Salafi relations

The relationship between Salafism and  Sufis – two movements of Sunni Islam with different interpretations of Islam – is historically diverse and reflects some of the changes and conflicts in the Muslim world today.[1]

Salafism is associated with  literaliststrict and puritanical  approaches to Islam. In the Western world it is often associated with the Salafist jihadism [2]Sufism is associated with the use of prayer, music, dance and the teachings of Sufi masters—who may serve as an intermediary between God and humans—to achieve a spiritual sense of the meaning of God.[3]

While there are Muslims who believe that Salafism and Sufism “overlap”, the “standard” Salafi response to Sufism has been called “polemical”.[4] According to various observers, Salafists have been “usually … unrelentingly hostile to devotional Sufi practices”,[5] arguing that Sufism is “irreconcilable with true Islam”,[4] and one of the elements “corrupting” modern day Islam.[6]Relations between the two movements have been described as one with “battle lines drawn”,[7] or a “rift” found in “practically every Muslim country”,[8] and in “the Muslim diasporic communities of the West”[9] as well.


Much of the antagonism against Sufism by Salafists is attributed to the writings of the eighteenth century figure, Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, and those who followed him. 

Some argue that his original followers were more conciliatory towards what they viewed as Sufism, with the son of Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab writing,

“We do not negate the way of the Sufis and the purification of the inner self from the vices of those sins connected to the heart and the limbs as long as the individual firmly adheres to the rules of Shari‘ah and the correct and observed way.[10]

Following a tripling in the price of oil in the mid-1970s and the progressive takeover of Saudi Aramco oil company between 1974 and 1980, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia acquired large sums of revenue from oil exports. It began to spend tens of billions of dollars throughout the Islamic World to promote the movement of Islam favored in that country — known as Salafi Islam.[11][12][13] According to Pnina Werbner, Saudi funding of “the Wahhabi/Salafi critique” (along with the forces of modernization) put “Sufi tariqas” in “danger of disappearing altogether” in the 1970 and 80s. Though the tariqas have “revived themselves” since then, Werbner describes the twenty-first century as dawning “with battle lines drawn up between” the two groups “within the world of Sunni Islam.”[7] states that Salafi groups have been “accused of perpetrating the destruction and burning of a number of Sufi mosques and shrines” as of 2011, a “reflection of the resurgence of the long suppressed animosity” between the two groups.[14]The Grand Mufti of Al Azhar Ali Gomaa, himself an adherent of Sufism, criticized this trend as unacceptable.[14]

Difference in beliefs and practices

There are a number of Sufi beliefs and practices that Salafi believe are “un-Islamic”:

Definition of bid‘ah (innovation in religious matters) — traditional Sufi scholars argue for an inclusive, holistic definition[15] whereas Salafi scholars argue for an exclusive, literal definition that entails anything not specifically performed or confirmed by the Prophet.

Mawlid (celebration of the birth of the prophet Muhammad) — considered bid‘ah by Salafis.[16]Urs (commemoration of the death anniversary of Sufi saints) — considered bid‘ah by Salafis.[16]

Nasheed (poetry in praise of the prophet Muhammad) — opposed by Salafis. However, Some Salafis consider poetry in praise of the prophet with no music to be permissible.

Dhikr (“remembrance” of God) ceremonies — opposed by Salafis.[17]

[18]Tawassul (intercession) the act of supplicating to Allah through a prophet, pious person or Sufi saint, living or dead. According to Salafis, “relying on an intermediary between oneself and Allah when seeking intercession” is among the “ten actions that negate Islam”. Some Salafis believe that a living pious man can be asked to pray to God as Tawassul.

[19]Wasilah (intercessionary powers of the prophet Muhammad) — Salafis hold Wasilah akin to shirk (polytheism). They argue that the prophet Muhammad was a mortal and being so is no longer alive and thus incapable of intercession on behalf of those who pray to him. Sufis hold that although not physically present in the world, the prophets, martyrs and saints are still alive. Some Salafis believe that Wasilah mentioned in Quran and hadith can be taken like Wasilah of good deeds or Wasilah of different attribute names of God[19]

[20]Ziyarat (visiting the graves of prophets and Sufi saints) — The Sufi practice of visiting the graves of Saints is also objected to by Salafis. Salafis believe that a muslim can take journey to only three holiest place of Islam that is Mecca, Medina, and Mosque of Jerusalem as mentioned in of the hadith of prophet.

Relations by country 


See also: Dungan Revolt (1895–96)

Salafism/Wahabbism is opposed by some Hui Muslims in China, primarily by the Sufi Khafiya, some  Hanafi SunniGedimu and a number of Jahriyya. The Yihewani (Ikhwan) Chinese sect founded by Ma Wanfu in China was originally inspired by the Wahhabi movement, but evolved away from their origins. When Ma Debao and Ma Zhengqing, attempted to introduce Wahhabism as the Orthodox main form of Islam in China, Yihewani reacted with hostility, accusing Ma Debao and Ma Zhengqing of being traitors of foreign influence, alien to the native popular cultural practices of Islam in China, “Heterodox” (xie jiao), and “people who followed foreigner’s teachings” (wai dao),[21] and Wahhabi teachings were deemed as heresy by the Yihewani leaders. Yihewani eventually became a secular Chinese nationalist organisation.[21]

Ma Debao established a Salafi / Wahhabi order, called the  Sailaifengyemenhuan in Lanzhou and Linxia, separate from other Muslim sects in China.[22] Salafis have a reputation for radicalism among the Hanafi Sunni Gedimu and Yihewani. Sunni Muslim Hui tend to avoid Salafis, even family members.[23] However Salafis in China are so low in number they are not included in classifications of Muslim sects in China.[24]

Before the Chinese Communist Revolution, the  Kuomintang Sufi   Muslim general Ma Bufang, backed the Yihewani (Ikhwan) Muslims and persecuted the Salafi / Wahhabi Muslims—forcing them into hiding, preventing them from moving or worshiping openly. The After the Communist revolution the Salafis were allowed to worship openly until a 1958 crackdown on all religious practices.[21]


Sufism has been called the “default setting” of Muslim religious life in Egypt[25][26][27] where there are 74 Sufi orders (tarikas)[28] and an estimated 15 million practicing Sufis.[29] The number of salafis in Egypt has been estimated at 5-6 million.[30] Before the 2011 revolution Scholar Tarek Osman describes Salafis as the “most important or pervasive Islamic force in the country,” with an influence “many times more than that of organized political Islam.”[31]

A May 2010 ban by the Ministry of Awqaf (religious endowments) of centuries old Sufi dhikr gatherings (devoted to the remembrance of God, and including dancing and religious songs) has been described as “another victory for extreme Salafi thinking at the expense of Egypt’s moderate Sufism”. Clashes followed at Cairo‘s Al-Hussein Mosque and al-Sayyida Zeinab mosques between members of Sufi orders and security forces who forced them to evacuate the two shrines. [28]

In early April 2011, a Sufi march from Al-Azhar Mosque to Al-Hussein Mosque was followed by a massive protest before Al-Hussein Mosque, “expressing outrage at the destruction” of Sufi shrines. The Islamic Research Centre of Egypt, led by Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmed el-Tayeb, has also renounced the attacks on the shrines.[14] According to the newspaper Al-masry Al-youm (Today’s Egyptian), in Egypt’s second biggest city — Alexandria — the headquarters for 36 Sufi groups and home of half a million Sufis, “16 historic mosques” belonging to Sufi orders have been “marked for destruction by Salafis”. Aggression against the Sufis in Egypt has included a raid on Alexandria’s most distinguished mosque, named for, and housing, the tomb of the 13th century Sufi Al-Mursi Abu’l Abbas.[32] According to Guardian journalist Irfan al-Alawi, “Salafis have alleged that Sufis are agents of the west as well as heretics. The extremists want to take control of Sufi mosques, after they destroy shrines within their precincts.”[32] In the governorate of al-Qalyubiya, two Salafis were arrested at the end of March 2013 after “a group of their followers razed five local shrines.”[32]


In the Pankisi Gorge, home to the Kists, a small Muslim ethnic group, the Sufi-Wahhabi split is generational. The older Kists keep Sufi traditions, but young people scorn the old practices and pray in “new, gleaming mosques”. Pankisi is reportedly the “only place in Georgia where people keep Sufism alive.” Wahhabism entered into “a dozen Pankisi villages in the 1990s, popularized by young people educated in Arab countries”. (The “Wahhabis” do not use the term but agree they are practicing a form of Sunni Islam “similar to that which prevails in Saudi Arabia.”) Because of close family ties, there has been no violence between the two groups, although Sufis protested loudly over the tearing down of a Sufi shrine to make way for a new Wahhabi mosque.[33]


Shamsul Ulama E. K. Aboobacker Musliyar was a well known sufi sunni scholar from India

Shah Syed Hasnain Baqai is a young sufi sunni scholar, he is known for his inclusive and broadminded interpretation of Islam.


For “nearly 700 years”, the Sufi tradition of Islam has been “part of the cultural and spiritual life” of Kashmir. However, according to journalists Tariq Mir[34] and Asit Jolly, Wahhabism or Salafism is making “deep inroads” into Kashmir society.[35] Since 2000 or so, “Salafist preachers” have spread across Kashmir and that movement of Islam has grown rapidly, now making up 1.5 million of the nearly eight million Indian Kashmiris.[34]Some 700 well patronized mosques and 150 schools[36] have been built in Kashmir by the “religious and welfare organisation”, Jamiat Ahle Hadith funded primarily by Saudi Arabian sources. According to state police and central intelligence officers,[35] this construction is part of $35-billion program reportedly devoted to the building of mosques and madrassas in South Asia.[35]

Kashmir’s predominantly Sufi-Hanafi community is reportedly anxious over Jamiat Ahle Hadith’s rapid proliferation, its increasing popularity among youth,[35] and “mysterious fires” in 2012 that left six Sufi places of worship either completely or partially burnt (although investigators have so far found no sign of arson).[37] Journalist Mir wonders how Sufism will fare against Wahhabism/Salafism inroads “in an age of globalization, free travel, and religious satellite channels”.[16] Many Sufi Barelvis believe that the beneficiaries of Saudi largesse are not just the Ahl-e-Hadith (who come closest to Wahhabism) but also the variety of Sunni Islam espoused by seminaries like the Darul Uloom Deoband and Nadwatul Ulema.[38] [39]

(The term “Wahabbi” in India can have contradictory definitions depending on the user of the term, according to author Yoginder Sikand. It is used by Barelvi and related Muslims to refer to Sunni critics of “practices associated with the shrines of the Sufis”. These critics being principally  Deobandi and  Ahl-e Hadith Muslims. Deobandi used the term to refer to the more strict Ahl-e Hadith who oppose taqlid (‘imitation’) of one of the four Madhhab (major schools of Sunni jurisprudence), and any form of Sufism. The Ahl-e Hadith refer to themselves as “Salafi” not Wahabbi.[20])


Prior to the regime of Muammar Gaddafi, Libya was a monarchy, whose king was head of the Senussi Sufi order. The flag of that kingdom was used by the rebels who overthrew Gaddafi in 2011.[40]

Following the overthrow of  Muammar Gaddafi, several Sufi religious sites in Libya were deliberately destroyed or damaged.[41] While as of 31 August 2012 “no group has claimed responsibility” for the attacks on the sites, the Interior Minister Fawzi Abdel A’al was quoted describing the attackers as “groups that have a strict Islamic ideology where they believe that graves and shrines must be desecrated,” an apparent reference to Salafists.[42] The BBC has also identified the destroyers as “Salafist Islamists”.[43]

In September 2012, three people were killed in clashes between residents of Rajma (50 km south-east of Benghazi) and “Salafist Islamists” trying to destroy a Sufi shrine in Rajma, the Sidi al-Lafi mausoleum.[43] In August 2012 the United Nations cultural agency  Unesco urged Libyan authorities to protect Sufi mosques and shrines from attacks by Islamic hardliners “who consider the traditional mystical school of Islam heretical”. The attackers have “wrecked mosques in at least three cities and desecrated many graves of revered Sufi scholars”.[44] However, the destruction and desecration did not cease with the Libyan Civil War. In April 2016, Salafists destroyed the shrine and graves of martyrs of the Italian occupation in the town of Misrata.[45]


In Mali, Sufis and Salafis are subject to a “deep religious divide” following the destruction of the Sufi shrines and tombs by Salafis in the north of that country, according to the Africa Report.[46]

Further information: Battle of Gao § Capture of Timbuktu

From April 2012 to January 2013 the Islamist Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (Jamāʿat at-tawḥīd wal-jihād fī gharb ʾafrīqqīyā) and Ansar Dine were in control of Gao, Timbuktu and Kidal in North Mali.[47] “About 30 militants armed with assault rifles and pickaxes” destroyed three mausoleums 30 June 2012, and three more the next day according to witnesses. The group said it planned to destroy all 16 of the main shrines in Timbuktu.[48] Ansar Dine, the group claiming control of the city, is blamed for the attacks.[49] Its leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, stated “Muslims should be proud of smashing idols. It has given praise to God that we have destroyed them.”[50] Another leader, Abou Dardar, was quoted by Agence France-Presse as saying that “not a single mausoleum will remain in Timbuktu.”[51]

The destruction was criticized not only by Sufis but by a number of Arab and Muslim authorities, political parties, and authors, and even at least one Salafi leader.[52] Nabil Na’im (a senior leader of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad), criticized the way the Salafis in Mali handled the “problem” of shrines.[53]


Nigeria is the home of the Izala Society, a Salafi organization established in 1978 “in reaction to the Sufi brotherhoods”,[54]specifically the Qadiri and Tijan Sufi orders.[55]

According to Ramzi Amara,

Today the Izala is one of the largest Islamic societies not only in Northern Nigeria, but also in the South and even in the neighbouring countries (Chad, Niger, and Cameroon). It is very active in Da‘wa and especially in education. The Izala has many institutions all over the country and is influential at the local, state, and even federal levels.[56]


Sufism has been a “part of the fabric of life in the Pakistan region for centuries”.[57] Salafi Islam is a more recent addition, having been introduced into Pakistan from “Arab-Afghans” (i.e. Arab and other Muslims from outside Afghanistan, who came to Pakistan to fight in Afghanistan) mujahedeen were fighting Soviet occupiers in the early 1980s. They found common agendas and support from Deobandi movement.[58] In Pakistan the dynamic between Sufi Muslims and fundamentalists has lately entered an especially intense phase with the proliferation of militant groups.[57]

There are hundreds of shrines to Sufi saints spread across the cities and countryside of Pakistan.[59] From March 2005 to 2010, 209 people were killed and 560 injured in 29 attacks on Sufi shrines.[60][61] In 2010 bomb attacks escalated, detonating in the presence of thousands of worshipers, and in the nation’s largest cities, such as Karachi and Lahore. Five attacks that year killed 64 people.[62][63] [64] In 2017 at least 70 people were killed and 250 wounded in one bombing — of the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, in Sehwan, in southern Sindh during a devotional dance.[65]

At least some of the attacks are attributed to banned militant organizations of Salafi backgrounds.[66][67][68] Salafist criticize dancing and drumming at shrine festivals, which in their view, does not accurately reflect the teachings and practice of the Prophet and his companions.[57][63]


While traditionally Christian, Russia has a number of Muslim-majority Republics or “federal subjects”, such as Dagestan and Chechnya.


(In Dagestan “Wahhabi” is the term used by most Dagestanis, although practitioners prefer the term “pure” or “true” Muslims.[69]) While Islam arrived in Dagestan in the late Middle Ages as Sufi Islam “infused with local customs”, Salafists began to have an impact by way of Afghanistan after the Soviet Union crumbled in the late 1980s[70](although one Salafist scholar—Yaseen Rasulov—maintains that the ideas of salafist jurist Ibn Taimiyah were already popular in Dagestan in the 16th and 17th centuries and that Salafists have always led jihad against colonizing Russians).[71] According to the Abu Dhabi National newspaper

Salafis dislike the Sufi alliance with the government. Sufis run the government-sanctioned Spiritual Board of Muslims, to which the official clergy belong. They also support a secular state. Salafis do not.[70]

According to the Economist magazine “The Islamisation of the conflict” between Caucasus Muslims (in Dagestan and Chechya) and Russia after the 1994 and 1999 Chechnya Wars “opened up a fierce sectarian fight between Sufism” and Salafism.[72] By the late 2000s the Salafis in Dagestan “were winning support among young Muslims”, while the Sufis were “tainted by association with a corrupt and dysfunctional state”.[72] Salafist are associated with the forest-based insurgency that has killed an average of three policeman a week in 2011, while police killed 100 people they identified as rebels, over a nine-month period in 2011.[70]

In October 2011, Sirazhutdin Khurikski, an influential Sufi sheikh in southern Dagestan, was killed.[73] In late August 2012, a revered Sufi scholar Sheikh Said Afandi and 5 others were among killed in Dagestan suicide bomb attack. A seventy-five-year-old cleric in the Sufi Brotherhood, Afandi was a key Sufi leader in the North Caucasus and had publicly denounced Salafism.[74][75]Another Sufi Sheikh, Ilyas-haji Ilyasov was assassinated on 3 August 2013, just a year after Said Afandi.[73]

Despite historical tensions between the two groups, as of mid-2015 “they are uniting in the face of twin threats: IS recruitment and the Russian government’s lawlessness.”[76]


The President (Aslan Maskhadov) of another Muslim-majority “federal subject” of Russia, Chechnya, took the side of Sufism against Salafism, saying, 

“We are Nakshband and Kadari and Sunnites, and there is no place for any other Islamic sect in Chechnya. … We cannot tolerate a situation where the enemies of Islam trample under foot the century-old traditions of the Chechyn people, desecrate the name of our saints …”[77] According to the BBC, however, his efforts “to ban the fundamentalist trend of Islam known as Wahhabism” were unsuccessful.[78]

Saudi Arabia 

In Saudi Arabia for many years Sufi brotherhoods, (also known as “mystical” brotherhoods), were proscribed by the government, and a “monopoly on religious matters” was given to the official “scholarly Islam of ulemas”, according to Gilles Kepel.[79] The official religion supported by the ulema in Saudi Arabia is often referred to as Wahhabism, but according to at least one source (Saudi author Abdul Aziz Qassim), its adherents prefer to call it the “Salafi movement of the Sheikh”.[80][81]

However, the 9/11 attacks (where 15 of the 19 hijackers turned out to be Saudi), brought scrutiny to the official religion in Saudi. Amongst other things it has “put the brakes on the practice of takfir” of other interpretations of Islam by the Saudi religious establishment, according to one Sufi in Saudi Arabia quoted in a Washington Post article. As of 2006 Sufi gatherings are legal in the Kingdom.[82]


Traditionally, Islam in Somalia has followed moderate Sufism (as well as Ash’ariyah theology and Shafi’i jurisprudence).[83] Salafi theology has arrived in Somalia in recent decades via the influence of students educated at Islamic universities in Saudi Arabia and migrant workers returning from Saudi.[83] Somali students of religion educated in Saudi Arabia, were often employed by the many Saudi institutions created to preach “the right theology” (i.e. Salafi theology) and received “massive economic and technical assistance” from their well-funded former hosts.[83]

Extreme versions of Salafism such as Al-Shabab and earlier Hizbul Islam have used force to impose their version of Islamism[83] (though those groups appear to be in conflict with most Salafi scholars[84]). Under areas of Al-Shabab rule in Somali, Sufi ceremonies were banned[85] and shrines destroyed.[86]As the power of Al-Shabab has waned, however, Sufi ceremonies are said to have “re-emerged”.[87]


According to the Beirut-based Al-Akhbar news site, conflict has been “simmering” between the two largest “religious sects” in Sudan—Salafis and Sufis.[88] Al Jazeera estimates that more than 60% of Sudanese are affiliated with Sufism, while 10% are tied to Salafi groups, though that number is growing.[89]Salafis, particularly the largest and oldest Salafi group Ansar al-Sunnah al-Muhammadiyyah, oppose Sufi beliefs and practices they find to be “heresies and perversions” and have been active preaching publicly against (what they believe are) unIslamic activities. Arab Afghan Jihadist Salafists have also been active in Sudan since the 1990s, sometimes violently.[89] In January 2012 a fight broke out between Sufis celebrating the Prophet Mohammad’s birthday and salafis.

Dozens of people were injured before the Sudanese police arrived at the scene to stop the fighting. Beyond the known differences between the two groups on the permissibility and religious legitimacy of the celebration, this specific clash took place in the context of rising tensions between the two groups [(Sufi and Salafi)], that arose after unknown persons dug up and burned the tomb of a Sufi on 2nd December 2011. The exhumed body was that of Sheikh Idris oud al-Arbab … The Sufi sects had accused the Salafi groups of desecrating and burning the tomb; the Salafis had denied any involvement, but the relationship between the two groups became increasingly tense leading up to the assault on the mawlid on 31st January 2012.[89]

Following this disturbance and complaints by Sufis, the Khartoum government announced a ban on Ansar al-Sunnah clerics preaching in public areas. Several “Sufi domes and shrines” have also been destroyed in Sudan, something Ansar denies any involvement in.[88]


In an article on the rise of Salafism in Tunisia, the media site Al-Monitor reported that 39 Sufi shrines were destroyed or desecrated in Tunisia, from the 2011 revolution to January 2013. The shrines, called zawaya, are mausoleums built to house the remains of ancient holy men.[90]

According to journalists Peter Beaumont and Patrick Kingsley,

The Salafist component in Tunisia remains a small minority, but it has prompted rows and mistrust among secularists and moderate Islamists. The Salafists are spread between three broad groups: new small political movements that have formed in recent months; non-violent Salafis; and violent Salafists and jihadists who, though small in number, have had a major impact in terms of violent attacks, arson on historic shrines or mausoleums considered to be unorthodox, demonstrations against art events … and isolated incidents of attacking premises that sell alcohol outside Tunis.[91]

United States 

In the United States, Sufi leader Muhammad Hisham Kabbani is well known for his vocal criticism of Wahhabism.[92] Kabbani, who moved to the United States in 1990 as an emissary of his teacher, Shaykh Muhammad Nazim Al-Haqqani, the grand shaykh of the Naqshbandi order, has described Wahhabism as being “like an octopus” because ‘Its tentacles are reaching everywhere.’ According to Kabbani, when he arrived in the US from Lebanon in 1990 he was shocked to hear Wahhabi doctrines being preached at Friday sermons. ‘I asked myself: Is Wahhabism active in America? So I started my research. Whichever mosque I went to, it was Wahhabi, Wahhabi, Wahhabi, Wahhabi.’ In 1999, during a forum organised by the US Department of State, Kabbani charged that ’80 per cent’ of the mosques in the US were run by extremists.[93]

Last edited 1 month ago by Thaha Muzammil Shah

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