Testimony of the Scholars of External Knowledge in Support of the Precedence of the Scholars of Internal Knowledge

  1. To keep the Presence of Allah in your heart in public and in private;
  2. To follow the Sunnah of the Prophet (s) by actions and speech;
  3. To keep away from dependence on people;
  4. To be happy with what Allah gives you, even if it is little;
  5. To always refer your matters to Allah, Almighty and Exalted.” [Maqasid at-Tawhid, p. 20]

Imam Fakhr ad-Din ar-Razi (544-606 H./1149-1209 CE)

Imam Fakhr ad-Din ar-Razi said, “The way the Sufis seek Knowledge is to disconnect themselves from this worldly life, and keep themselves constantly busy in their mind and in their heart, with Dhikrullah, during all their actions and behaviors.” [Ictiqadat Furaq al-Musliman, p. 72, 73]

Ibn Khaldun (733-808 H./1332-1406 CE)

Ibn Khaldun said, “The way of the Sufis is the way of the Salaf, the Scholars among the Sahaba, Tabiceen, and Tabic at-Tabiceen. Its origin is to worship Allah and to leave the ornaments of this world and its pleasures.” [Muqaddimat ibn Khaldan, p. 328]

Tajuddin as-Subki

Tajuddin as-Subki (r) mentioned in his book Muceed an-Naceem, p. 190, under the chapter entitled Sufism, “May Allah praise them and greet them and may Allah make us to be with them in Paradise. Too many things have been said about them and too many ignorant people have said things which have no relation to them. And the truth is that they have left dunya and are busy with worship.”

He said, “They are the People of Allah, whose duca and prayers Allah accepts, and by means of whom Allah supports human beings.”

Jalaluddin as-Suyuti

He said in his book Ta’yad al-haqiqat al-cAliyya, p. 57, “Sufism in itself is the best and most honorable knowledge. It explains how to follow the Sunnah of the Prophet (s) and to leave innovation.”

Ibn Taymiyya (661-728 H./1263-1328 CE)

In Majmaca Fatawa Ibn Taymiyya, published by Dar ar-Rahmat, Cairo, Vol, 11, page 497, Book of Tasawwuf, Ibn Taymiyya says: “You have to know that the rightly-guided shaikhs must be taken as guides and examples in the Dan, as they are following in the footsteps of the Prophets and Messengers. The Way (tariqat) of those shaikhs is to call people to Allah’s Divine Presence and obedience to the Prophet.”

Ibn Taymiyya says on page 499 of the same volume: “The shaikhs whom we need to take as guides are our examples and we have to follow them. As when on the Hajj (the pilgrimage), one needs a guide (dalal) to reach the Kacba, these shaikhs are our guide (dalal) to Allah and our Prophet (s).”

Among the shuyukh he mentioned are: Ibrahim ibn Adham, Macruf al-Karkhi, Hasan al-Basri, Rabia al-Adawiyya, Junaid ibn Muhammad, Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani, Shaikh Ahmad ar-Rafa’i, and Shaikh Bayazid al- Bistami.

Ibn Taymiyya quotes from Bayazid al-Bistami on page 510, Volume 10: “…the great Sufi shaikh, Bayazid al-Bistami, and the famous story of when he saw God in a vision (kashf) and said to Him: ‘O Allah what is the way to You?’ And Allah responded, ‘Leave yourself and come to Me.’” Ibn Taymiyya continues quoting Bayazid al-Bistami, “I shed my self as a snake sheds its skin.”

Implicit in this quotation is an indication of the need for zuhd (self-denial or abstention from the worldly life), as that was the path followed by Bayazid al-Bistami.

So we see from the above quotes, that Ibn Taymiyya was accepting many shaikhs by quoting them and urging people to follow guides to show the way to obey God and to obey the Prophet (s).

What Ibn Taymiyya Says About the Term Tasawwuf

“The crucible itself tells you, when you are strained, Whether you are gold or gold-plated copper.” Sanai.

Following is what Ibn Taymiyya said about the definition of Tasawwuf, from Volume 11, At-Tasawwuf, of Majmuca Fatawa Ibn Taymiyya al-Kubra, Dar ar-Rahmah, Cairo:

“Alhamdulillah, the use of the word tasawwuf has been thoroughly discussed. This is a term that was given to those who were dealing with that branch of knowledge (tazkiyat an-nafs and Ihsan).”

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