What Great Imams Said About Tasawwuf
For that reason the Shaykh ul-Islam of his time, Imam Malik–who was born in 95 H. and who was considered from the Tabi’een–said in his famous aphorism:
“man tassawaffa wa lam yatafaqah faqad tazandaqa wa man tafaqaha wa lam yatsawwaf faqad fasadat, wa man tafaqaha wa tassawafa faqad tahaqqaq.” –
“whoever studied tasawwuf without fiqh is a heretic and whoever studied fiqh without tasawwuf is corrupted; and whoever studied tasawwuf and fiqhwill find the Truth and Reality of Islam.”
Imam Malik didn’t accept shari’ah without haqiqat and he never accepted haqiqat without shari’ah, fiqh and truth, the state of Islam and the state of Ihsan.
Imam Shafi’i said,
“hubbaba ilaya min dunyakum thalath: tark at-takkaluf, wa ‘ishratul-khalqi bit-tallatuf, wal-‘iqtida’u bit-tareeqi Ahli tassawuf.”
– “I love from his life three things: first to leave behind bad attitudes, and to show kindness to others, and to be guided by the way of Tasawwuf.”
Imam Ahmad said to his son, advising him,
“Ya walladee ‘alayka bi-jallassati ha’ula’i as-Sufiyya. Fa innahum zaadu ‘alayna bikathuratil ‘ilmi wal murqaba wal khashiyyata waz-zuhda wa ‘uluwal himmat.”
– “O my son, you have to keep the association with the Sufi people because they achieved more than us in knowledge, in watchfulness, fear of Allah, austerity and intensity of their devotion to reach the state of excellence.”
Ibn Taymiyya’s Opinion of One Who Rejects the Four Madhabs
And these three Imams were from the well-known Imams of Ahl as-Sunnah wal Jama’at which Ibn Taymiyya described in his book al-Mukhtasir al-Fawati al Masriyyah Published by Madani Publisher, 1980, p. 45 when he was asked
“what is your opinion if someone doesn’t accept the four Imams?”
Ibn Taymiyya replied:
“it is not necessary to keep one madhab, but you can take from all of them and this is good. But if you say ‘we don’t want to comply with theFour Madhabs and I want to practice according to my own ijtihad,’then you are completely mistaken. Because truth is in these Four Madhabs and complies with what they have described.”
From Ibn Taymiyya here we understand that to respect the knowledge of the Four Imams is recommended and that is why Ibn Taymiyya accepted them and took their opinions. At the same time he was a mujtahid and therefore we, who are coming in the 20th Century are accepting our Muslim scholars who came in the time of the Tabi’een (i.e. the Four Imams) and those who came later up to the time of Ibn Taymiyya and we are accepting Ibn Taymiyya and those in his time. We are quoting them, just as they have quoted each other.
We are stating here that we consider any disagreement with us on a topic about which we refer to their position as a disagreement with them and not with us. Because we are only quoting what we learned from them in their books, and which complies with the Shari’ah and Sunnah. So if we are defining Tasawwuf from the point of view of Ibn Taymiyya or other scholars, then any decision one makes must be rendered on their opinions. So we say: may Allah protect us and make us students for such great Imams and let us learn from them, because they derived their knowledge from Qur’an and Sunnah of the Prophet (s).
From here one can go deeper and deeper into what scholars said on this topic. Because this is a vast science, for which reason we asked for more time to define and explain that science.
© 2012 As-Sunnah Foundation of America