As I am not an English speaker, I am an Arab, it takes time to translate, explain and give definitions. So you must excuse us, not accuse us, because we don’t want to write hurriedly and give a haphazard answer in our spare time. Rather we wish to define Tasawwuf precisely according to Qur’an and Holy Hadith in order to answer Shaykh Adly’s questions. We intend to answer in depth insha-Allah, to give the meaning of the term Tasawwuf, which doesn’t differ from the meaning of Tazkiyyat an-Nufus or Ihsan. Ihsan is the state of the heart which brings tears to the eyes when reading the Qur’an or Hadith, causes one to feel regret for time wasted in pursuit of the worldly life, and causes one to yearn for the presence of God and for the blessings of the Afterlife.
Some writers need two or three years to write a book. I don’t think any reasonable person expects us to give a definition of this huge subject in a short space when it deserves a whole book. Nonetheless, we will continue to translate slowly, the quotations of Ibn Taymiyya and Ibn Qayyim on Sufism, ‘Ilm as-Sulook, Ittihad, Fana’, Praising the Prophet (s), the matter of Intercession and numerous subjects which were mentioned in the books of Ibn Taymiyya, Ibn Qayyim and Ibn Kathir. Some brothers and sisters are not aware of these important subjects, because these books are in Arabic and are difficult to obtain. As of now, we didn’t translate from any scholars other than Ibn Taymiyya, Ibn Kathir and Ibn Qayyim. We haven’t yet begun to translate how other scholars of Islam explained these terms. Because this life will end, yet the teachings of Islam will never end. Allah said,
“qul law kana al-bahru midaadan li-kalimaati Rabbi, la-nafid al-bahr qabl tanfada kalimaatu Rabbi, wa law ji’na bi-mithlihi madadda.”
“Say: 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 were to end, even if We added another Ocean like it as aid.”
Allah’s Knowledge as mentioned in Surat al-Kahf, is like an ocean which never ends and that is why the exegesists (mufassarin) such as Ibn Kathir and Sayyid Qutb have written many volumes of explanations of the Holy Qur’an. What these scholars wrote is from the Qur’an and the Sunnah, though the average person reading it might not be able to determine that fact. The Qur’an is contained in approximately 500 pages. The Hadith of Prophet (s), accepted in Bukhari and Muslim, are only around 5000-7000 hadith. Yet we see that thousands of books have been put forth explaining hadith and Qur’an. If we quote only one person, Ibn Taymiyya, whom we like to quote, we find he has 37 volumes devoted purely to fatwas, not even explanations. Therefore how can one say for everything “where is it in Qur’an or in hadith?”
© 2012 As-Sunnah Foundation of America