Imam Abu Mansur `Abd al-Qahir al-Baghdadi (d. 429) on Tasawwuf
One of those who possessed encompassing knowledge of the multifarious views and beliefs of the groups of Muslims and non-Muslims, he writes in his Farq bayn al-firaq:
- Know that Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jama`a are divided in eight groups of people… the sixth group being the Sufi Ascetics (al-zuhhad al-sufiyya), who have seen things for what they are and therefore have abstained, who have known by experience and therefore have taken heed truly, who have accepted Allah’s allotment and contented themselves with what is within reach.
They have understood that hearing, sight, and thought are all accountable for their good and their evil and subject to reckoning to an atom’s weight. In consequence they have harnessed themselves with the best harness in preparation for the Day of the return. Their speech has run the two paths of precepts and subtle allusions in the manner of the People of Hadith but without the pursuit of idle discourse. They neither seek self-display in doing good, nor do they leave doing good out of shyness. Their religion is the declaration of singleness and the disavowal of similitude. Their school is the commital of matters to Allah, reliance upon Him, submission to His order, satisfaction with what they have received from Him, and shunning all objection to Him. “Such is the bounty from Allah, He bestoweth it upon whom He will, and Allah is of infinite bounty” (57:21, 67:4).1
Imam `Abd al-Qahir al-Baghdadi writes in Usul al-din:
The book Tarikh al-sufiyya (History of the Sufis, more commonly known as Tabaqat al-sufiyya or layers of the Sufis) by Abu `Abd al-Rahman Sulami comprises the biographies of nearly a thousand sheikhs of the Sufis, none of whom belonged to heretical sects and all of whom were of the Sunni community, with the exception of only three of them: Abu Hilman of Damascus, who pretended to be of the Sufis but actually believed in incarnationism (hulul); Husayn ibn Mansur al-Hallaj, whose case remains problematic, though Ibn `Ata’ Allah, Ibn Khafif, and Abu al-Qasim al-Nasir Abadi approved of him [as did the Hanbalis Ibn `Aqil, Ibn Qudama, and al-Tufi]; and al-Qannad, whom the Sufis accused of being a Mu`tazili and rejected, for the good does not accept the wicked.2
Reproduced with permission from Shaykh M. Hisham Kabbani’sThe Repudiation of “Salafi” Innovations (Kazi, 1996) p. 313-314.
Blessings and Peace on the Prophet, his Family, and his Companions
© 2012 As-Sunnah Foundation of America