Abu al-`Ala’ al-Mawdudi (d. 1399) on Tasawwuf
The most famous contemporary Islamic thinker of the Indian subcontinent and author of a Qur’anic commentary in Urdu and English, he wrote in his Mabadi’ al-islam (Principles of Islam):
Fiqh addresses only external actions: did you perform them according to what is required? The condition of your heart is not taken under consideration. As for the science that investigates the states of the heart and its conditions: this is tasawwuf. The questions asked by fiqh are: Did you complete your ablution correctly? Did you pray towards the Qibla? Did you fulfill the pillars of prayer? If you did all this your prayer is correct according to the ruling of fiqh. As for tasawwuf, it asks questions about your heart: Did you repent and turn to your Lord in your prayer? Did you empty your heart of the preoccupations of the world in your prayer? Did you pray in fear of Allah and knowing that He sees and hears you?… If you did all this and other things, then your prayer is correct according to tasawwuf, otherwise it is defective… Tasawwuf is the establishment of the Law of Islam to the utmost point of sincerity, clarity of intention, and purity of heart.1
1 Abu al-`Ala’ al-Mawdudi, Mabadi’ al-Islam p. 114-117.Reproduced with permission from Shaykh M. Hisham Kabbani’s_The Repudiation of “Salafi” Innovations (Kazi, 1996) p. 400.
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