The Great Internet Debate

The Great Internet Debate

Tasawwuf – the Islamic Science of Perfection of Character

Introduction

Shaikh M. Adly, addressed us with six questions on Tasawwuf via Internet’s MSA-Net.

‘ILM AT-TASAWWUF – THE SCIENCE OF SUFISM

ANSWERS TO SIX QUESTIONS ON TASAWWUF

by Shaikh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani

Dedication

    To our brother Shaikh Adly and to the new Muslims he mentioned in his article and to anyone that likes to have a short definition of the subject of Tasawwuf.

INTRODUCTION

Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Raheem

Brothers and Sisters in Islam,

We greet you with the greetings of Islam. Allah says

    “IDHA HUYEETUM BITAHIYATIN FAHAYU BI-AHSANI MINHA …” “And when you are greeted with a greeting, greet with a better (greeting) than it or return it; surely Allah takes account of all things.” (an-Nisa, 86)

So we are greeting you with the ‘tahyat al-Islam,’ as-salaam alaykum wa rahmatullah. And we hope you greet us in the same or better way, without any ill-feelings or accusations. Because we see that on the network an extreme form of unfairness is occurring–something that is forbidden in Islam. That injustice is coming from only one side. What we perceive is that whatever we say some people come against us with accusations and whatever they say is presumed to be accepted.

The Solution to Differences of Opinion in Islam

We are not expressing our own point of view–we are expressing the point of view that MANY, MANY Muslims have accepted. From this we see that there is a difference of opinion, ikhtilaf. Sometimes there might be differences in opinion (ikhtilaf) in Islam, and that is because opinions (ijtihad) might differ. For that reason, ACCORDING TO SOME SCHOLARS, the Door of Jurisprudence, (Bab al-Ijtihad) is still open. This is not the time to open a discussion of this subject, but for those who accept that opinion, it is considered open so that people who came in later times than the Four Imams, who have more knowledge or have a different point of view can make new ijtihad.

Therefore, when Muslims disagree, they must not accuse each other–it is not from Islamic good manners (adab). The more appropriate thing to do, instead of making accusations, would be for them to become aware of what is written about the matter under discussion by the scholars representing the differing opinion. Therefore we say, “if someone is not aware of certain things that have been explained by many scholars of Islam, over 1400 years of Islamic history, then that person should go read the existing books in order to understand the subject and in order to develop a clear point of view which takes into consideration all the other viewpoints and essential doctrines on that subject as they have been explained by the scholars of Islam.”

What we are expressing today and trying to bring before the network is a subject that all ‘ulama have brought up and studied thoroughly. It is one in which they obtained a tremendous amount of knowledge and which they checked out thoroughly, verifying that its roots are deep within Islam. Moreover they expressed their opinions, saying that true Tasawwuf complies with Sunnah and Shari’ah because it originates from the heart of the Sunnah and Shari’ah.

TASAWWUF – A TECHNICAL TERM

Tasawwuf is a technical term which describes the state of Ihsan, as mentioned in the famous hadith of Jibril, and the process of Tazkiyyat an-Nafs, purification of the self which is mentioned in the Holy Qur’an. That is acceptable in Islam, as long as it does not contain superstition (shawwaza). We have said many times that we do not believe in nor follow superstition. We accept Tazkiyyat an-Nafs and the state of Ihsan, purification of the heart, as it is an *important* part of the Sunnah of the Prophet (s) and the teachings of the Holy Qur’an. We are following the definition of Tasawwuf that was clearly and extensively explained by Ibn Taymiyya, Ibn Qayyim and Ibn Kathir and all other great scholars of the other four schools of Islamic Shari’ah.

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