Tasawwuf al-Haytami

It has been narrated through more than one source and has become well-known to every one that whoever opposes the Sufis, Allah will not make His Knowledge beneficial, and will be inflicted with the worst and ugliest (diseases/illnesses), and we have witnessed that happening to many deniers. For example, al-Biqa`i (d. 885) may Allah forgive him, used to be one of the most distinguished scholars, with numerous acts of worship, an exceptional intelligence, and an excellent memory in all kinds of knowledge, especially in the sciences of exegesis and hadith, and he wrote numerous books, but Allah did not allow them to be of any kind of benefit to anyone. He also authored a book on Munasabat al-Qur’an in about ten volumes, about which no one knows except the elite, and as for the rest, they have never heard about it. If this book had been written by our Shaykh Zakariyya, or by anyone who believes (in awliya), it would have been written with gold, because, as a matter of fact, it has no equal: for “Of the bounties of thy Lord We bestow freely on all, these as well as those: the bounties of thy Lord are not closed to anyone” (17:20). [Al-Biqa`i is the author, among others, of a vicious attack on tasawwuf and Sufis entitled Masra` al-tasawwuf aw tanbih al-ghabi ila takfir Ibn `Arabi wa-tahdir al-`ibad min ahl al-`inad (The destruction of I, or: The warning of the ignoramus concerning the declaration of Ibn `Arabi's disbelief, and the cautioning of Allah's servants against the People of Stubbornness).]

Al-Biqa`i went to an extreme in his denial, and wrote books about the subject, all of them clearly and excessively fanatical and deviating from the straight path. But then he paid for it fully and even more than that, for he was caught in the act on several occasions and was judged a disbeliever (kafir). It was ruled that his blood be shed and he was about to get killed, but he asked the help and protection of some influential people who got him out of it, and he was made to repent in Salihiyya, Egypt, and renew his Islam. On the latter occasion he was asked “What exactly do you disapprove of in Shaykh Muhiyyiddin (Ibn `Arabi)?” He said: “I disagree with him on certain passages, fifteen or less, in his book al-Futuhat.”

Consider well this individual who contradicts his own books, where he mentions that he opposes many parts of al-Futuhat and other books and declares that they constitute disbelief: is there any reason to this other than fanaticism? He had some distinguished students who listened to his words and believed in them, among them some of my shaykhs, but they did not gain any kind of true knowledge from it, because some of them did not succeed in writing any books, while some wrote books on the art of fiqh equal to the books of Sa`d al Din al-Taftazani and others in their eloquence, the beauty of their style and the excellence of their diction, but no one paid any attention to them or even noticed them, on the contrary: people ignored them.

It happened to me with one of those, that while I was studying under him, he started to have difficulties breathing, and I did not know at that time that he opposed the Sufis. In one of his sessions, the name of Shaykh `Umar Ibn al-Farid, may Allah sanctify his secret, was mentioned, and he was asked: “What do you think about him?” He said: “He is a great poet”; then he was asked, “and what else after that?” He said “He is a kafir.” Then I had to leave, then I came back later to read something to him and I examined carefully to see if he had repented, but I found him seriously ill and oppressed in his breathing to the point that he was almost dying. I said to him: “If you believe in Ibn al-Farid (i.e. in his Friendship with Allah), I guarantee that Allah will cure you of your illness.” He said: “I have had this condition for years.” I said: “Even so.” He said, “All right, then I will,” after which he began to feel better and better. One day, while I was walking with him, trying to correct his doctrine (`aqida), he said to me: “As far as that man is concerned, I do not judge him to be a kafir, but as far as his discourses are concerned, they do include kufr.” I said: “One evil deed out of two,” after which I quit studying under him, and that illness stayed with him, but relatively better than before.

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