Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Rahim
What is Sufism?
His Eminence, Shaykh, Sidi Muhammed Saâ`id Al Jamal
Imam and Khateeb, Al Aqsa Mosque, Al Quds
Tasawuf, by definition, derives from Safaâ€™. In other words, it is the sum of two words, Tahliya and Takhliya. Tahliya, means to acquire every good characteristic, and Takhliya, is to get rid of every bad characteristic which Allah (Tabaraka wa Taâ€™ala) does not approve nor accept. In other words, Tahliya is to decorate oneâ€™s self with the Divine Commandments, which have been transmitted by Rasoolullah, (salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam) in his holy traditions, and the book of Allah which has descended upon his heart as a revelation carried by Jibreel Alaihi Salaam, as he (salla Allaho alaihi wa sallam) said: I have left in (among) you two things, if you hold fast to them you will never go astray, the book of Allah and the Sunnah of his Prophet. So, the first Sufi is Al-Mustafa (the chosen one) salla Allho alaihi wa sallam, for the first one who went (entered) into seclusion is Rasoolullah, salla Allaho alihi wa sallam, that was in Ghar (cave) Hiraaâ€™, where he used to contemplate (meditate) yatahannath, and worship Allah according to the milla (religion) of our Master Ibrahim, which is the religion of Tawheed, (Allahâ€™s oneness). So, he worked on purifying his nafs, (self), his holy nafs, and his holy heart, and his holy soul, until Allah sent down to him Jibreel, who said to him: Iqraâ€™ (read), he, salla Allaho Alaihi wa sallam, said: Ma ana bi Qariâ€™ (I donâ€™t know how to read), that happened twice, in the third time, (Jibreel) said: Iqraâ€™ bismi Rabbika la thee khalaq. ( Read in the Name of thy Lord, the one who created). The Prophet, Salla Allaho alaihi wa sallam, said: I have been sent to perfect the honrable Akhlaq (morals, ethics, morality, (good) manners). Allah says: "You are on (have) great Akhlaq."
Therefore, Tasawwuf, basically, is (comes) from purifying the Selves, Hearts and Souls, to have all of them directed towards Allah Taâ€™ala. The Mutasawwif (Sufi) must be a perfect example, an embodiment, as if he is a Qurâ€™an walking on earth, and an embodiment of the Sunnah. He, salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam, was the first to call for the refinement of the Selves, the Akhlaq, the Souls and purifying them. How can a human being be happy, unless his Self and his heart, being purified, and become attached to his Lord. Therefor our master the Great Beloved said in the Hadith which has been narrated through a number of different chains of transmissim (Mutawatir), and related by Sayyidina Omar Ibn Al Khattab, "One day while we were sitting with the Messenger of Allah (may the blessings of Allah be upon him) there appeared before us a man whose clothes were exceedingly white and whose hair was exceedingly black; no signs of journeying were to be seen on him and none of us knew him. He walked up and sat down by the Prophet (may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon him). Resting his knees against his and placing the palms of his hands on his thighs, he said: O Muhammad Al Salaamu Alaika, He (salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: Wa alaika as Salaam. He said: tell me about Islam. The Messenger of Allah (may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: Islam is to testify that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, to perform the prayers, to pay the zakat, to fast Ramahaan, and to make the pilgrimage to the House if you are able to do so. He said: You have spoken rightly this is Islam. We were amazed at him asking him and saying that he had spoken rightly. He said: Then tell me about Iman. He said: It is to believe in Allah, His angels, His books, His messengers, and the Last Day, and to believe in Divine Decree, both the good and the evil thereof. He said: You have spoken rightly. He said: Then tell me about ihsan (and it is the third station), He said: It is to worship Allah as though you are seeing Him, for even when you are not (in lam takun) seeing him, yet truly he sees you.
How does that happen--it happens when you are not (in lam takun)*
Then He took himself off and I stayed for a time. Then he said: O Umar, do you know who the questioner was: I said: Allah and His Messenger know best. He said: It was Gabriel, who came to you to teach you your religion.
Therefor, there are three stations, Islam, that is, of course, what Rasoolullah has brought in the form of Kitab and Sunnah, it organizes the relationship between the Human being and his Lord, through the Ibadaat, and between him and his follow human beings through Muâ€™amalaat (rules of conduct, behavior, transactions), and his relationship with himself. This is the external (outward, outer) aspect, the Shariâ€™a. A person might pray, while he is in the masjid, but after he leaves the masjid, he would cheat or steal, therefor nothing would be left (remain) of his salat, for one gets out of his salat only the part (portion) where his mind is present ( ma akila minha), then, on the day of Qiyama it will be folded like a piece of old cloth and thrown at his face and tell him: may Allah ruin (waste) you the way you have ruined me. So, outwardly, the sufi is eager to establish the rituals of Allah, the sufi is a man of determination, who does not look for easy ways (rukhas). He performs salaat on time, gives zakat, and never misses any thing.
There is a second stage in ascending, it is Iman, which is what takes place in the heart and confirmed by actions.
However, there is yet a third stage. We have the Shariâ€™a, the Tariqh, and the Haqiqa. The tariqa (way) is the Iman, and the Haqiqa is the Ihsan. We have said: To warship Allah. How? How to worship him? Doesnâ€™t every muslim worship Allah? He prays, doesnâ€™t he? It is to worship him as though you are seeing him. How do you see Him? How can I see Him? In lam takun. If you are not, (literary, in Arabic, it means- if you do not exist-) You have to have no existence along side with His existence, to destroy all images, to see the Haqq, through the (khalq) creation, to walk with Allah. This is where Tasawwuf and the Muhammadan inheritors (Al worrath al Muhammadioon), those who inherited the Muhammadan weigh (Al Thiql al Muhammadi) and the Muhammadan reality ( Al Haqiqa al Muhammadiyya) come from. Mohammad the Messenger of Allah, salla Allaho Alaihi wa sallam, his Presence is in Madina, His holy body is in Madina, and he is alive in his grave, (The miser is the one whom upon mentioning my name does not say salawat upon me), salla Allaho alaihi wa sallam, but his reality will never pass away (vanish, cease to exist), as ever lasting truth, He, salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam, said in a holy hadith: I am from Allah, meaning I am from the light (noor) of Allah, and the believers are form my light. So, essentially, the light does not vanish, the light of The Truth, (Noor Al Haqq) never vanishes. Therefor, you have to realize your existence through His existence, in other words, not to have an existence of your own along side with His existence, to see Him in every form (appearance, image). In every appearance He appears, if you disappear from Him, He appears like a sun or a moon. You have to realize the existence of Al Haqq. If Al Haqq is not established within you, what existence are you talking about? Is there any (one, thing) which exist with out the one who gives existence? Where is it? Show it to me? How can something that perishes have an existence? So,what are you? Our beloved, salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam, narrates a Divine Tradition, (Hadith Qudsi): I have created Adam on my image (ala Surati). Therefor, you are the place of manifestations. Allah has ninety nine Names attributes, or names, only one is the Supreme Name (Al Ism Al Aâ€™zham), while the rest are attributes which manifest on the creation. He manifest himself on you with his name Al Sameeâ€™, (The Hearer), so you began to hear with (the name) Al Sameeâ€™. He manifest himself on you with Al Baseer, so you began to see with Al Baseer, therefor, He said: Asmiâ€™ bihi wa absir (19-38), He manifested him self on you with his name Al Mutakallim and you began to speak. In fact it is not you the one who speaks, It is Allah. All these attributes (Sifaat) are manifestations (Tajalliyaat). Therefor , Sufism guides the murid to Allah in order to teach him the the reality of his own self and the reality of his existence, and to show him that nothing exists but Al Haqq. Therefor he is a gift of mercy, Allah said: We have not sent you save a mercy to the worlds. So he carries nothing but the message of complete (unconditional) love to every thing that Allah has created, even animals, even plants and birds, for instance, he will not even step on an ant, even an ant a sufi does not step on, because it is Allahâ€™s creation, because they (ants) are a nation, "One of the ants said: O you ants, get into your, habitations lest Solomon and his hosts crush you" (27-18). Itâ€™s a nation.
Therefor, we as sufis guide the murid to know the reality of his self, in order that he will speak by Allah, hear by Allah, see by Allah, walk by Allah, and, destroy all images to reach to the one who created these images. Therefor, it has been said: you think that you are an insignificant germ, while the whole great world is within you. ((I was a hidden treasure, and I wanted to be known, so I created (the) creation, and through Me they knew Me)) It means that he was known through the creation. When Allah ordered (the angels) to prostrate to Adam by saying: "When I have fashioned him and breathed into him of My spirit, fall down in prostration into him (Lahu)" (15-29) who is â€śhimâ€ť it is not Adam, it is the decree (Amr) that is in Adam. Adam is only a metaphor, an illusion, but this illusion is sanctified (holly), because He created him with his own hands, (sawwaitu hu bi yadi, wa nafakhtu fihi min ruhi). (To Allah applies the highest similitude) (16-60).
Therefor, the sufi is not what people think, he might feel sad, but he is sad when others are sad, and he is happy for their happiness, and he is the farthest from miserliness, and from hatred mankind, because he is educated (cultured) according to the (education, culture) of the Great Beloved, on the table of mercy, therefor, he will never violate peoples rights, and never disobey the Lord of people, or neglect his duty towards his religion and his nation. This is the way of our masters, may Allah be pleased with them, coming from our Master Rasoolullah.
Look at how he, salla Allaho alaihi wa sallam, used to fight oppression and oppressors, in the battle of Uhud and Badr. He wasnâ€™t lazy, sufism doesnâ€™t mean that we tell the sufi to sit in the zawia and thatâ€™s it, no, he has to be like a bee, after Fajr he dashes to his work, adhering to the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of his Messenger, carrying mercy to the worlds. He is a Divine fragrance, wherever he goes, people smell his fresh sweet fragrance. All our masters, may Allah be pleased with them, have taken part in their nations affairs, in the peopleâ€™s problems and their suffering, all of them were Mujahids who never hesitate to defend their religion, their nation, or humanity in general. Yes, and this is a part of my mission. I am a man of tasawwuf, but I have been in cells (prisons) many times for the cause of the Truth, because Allah orders us to do so, and our master Rasoolullah ordered us to do so, not to give in for oppressors and their oppression, we call on the oppressors to back down on their oppression to people, and to do good for the sake of people, but we do not keep silent with our hands tied and lit them do what they want and oppress people, and eat up their property unjustly. No.
Sufism, then is the essence of Islam and the eternal reality which no one knows but us, who walk the path of knowing the essential reality of the Truth in their being.
This is only a brief (discourse), otherwise, tasawwuf is "Say: â€ś If the ocean were ink (wherewith to write out) the words of my Lord, sooner would the ocean be exhausted than would the words of my Lord, even if we added another ocean like it, for its aid.â€ť (18-109)