Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Just Wool and Nothing Else. ?






Quote:

"The word “Sufism” was not known at the time of the Messenger or the Sahaabah or the Taabi’een.
It arose at the time when a group of ascetics who wore wool (“soof”) emerged, and this name was given to them. 
It was also said that the name was taken from the word “soofiya” (“sophia”) which means “wisdom” in Greek. 
The word is not derived from al-safa’ (“purity”) as some of them claim, because the adjective derived from safa’ is safaa’i, not soofi (sufi). Here
Quote:
"We must understand that the word al-soofiyyah (Sufism) refers to wearing woollen clothes [the Arabic word soof means “wool”] and nothing else. Here



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Imam Abu Hanifa (81-d.150 H) Imam Abu Hanifa (r) (85 H.-150 H) said, "If it were not for two years, I would have perished. For two years I accompanied Sayyidina Jafar as-Sadiq and I acquired the spiritual knowledge that made me a knower in the Way."
The book Ad-Durr al-Mukhtar, vol 1. p. 43, mentions that Ibn Abideen said, "Abi Ali Dakkak, one of the sufi saints, received his path from Abul Qassim an-Nasarabadi, who received it from ash-Shibli, who received it from Sariyy as-Saqati who received it from Maruf al-Karkhi, who received it from Dawad at-Ta'i, who received the knowledge, both the external and the internal, from the Imam Abu  Hanifa (r), who was supporting the Sufi Spiritual Path." The Imam said before he died: lawla sanatan lahalaka Numan, "Were it not for a certain two years, Numan [i.e. myself] would have perished." There were the last two years of his life, when he began accompanying Jafar as-Sadiq.(d.148H)
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Imam Malik (94-d.179 H)
Imam Malik (r) said, "Whoever studies jurisprudence [fiqh] and didn't study Sufism (tasawwuf) will be corrupted; and whoever studied tasawwuf and didn't study fiqh will become a heretic; and whoever combined both will be reach the Truth." This saying is mentioned and explained in the book of the scholar 'Ali al-Adawi with the explanation of Imam Abil-Hassan, a scholar of fiqh, vol. 2, p. 195.
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Imam Shafii (150-d.205 H)
Imam Shafii (r) said, "I accompanied the Sufi people and I received from them three knowledges:
1. they taught me how to speak
2. they taught me how to treat people with leniency and a soft heart.
3. they guided me in the ways of Sufism."
This is mentioned in the books, Kashf al-Khafa and Muzid al-Albas, by Imam 'Ajluni, vol. 1, p. 341.
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Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal (164-d.241 H) Imam Ahmad (r) said, advising his son, "O my son, you have to sit with the People of Sufism, because they are like a fountain of knowledge and they keep the Remembrance of Allah in their hearts. They are the ascetics and they have the most spiritual power." This is explained in the book Tanwir al-Qulub, p. 405, by Shaikh Amin al-Kurdi.
Imam Ahmad said about the Sufis, as mentioned in the book Ghiza al-Albab, vol. 1, p. 120, "I don't know any people better than them."

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Imam al-Muhasibi (d. 243 H./857 CE) Imam Al-Hārith ibn Asad Al-Muhāsibī teacher of the Sufi masters Junayd al-Baghdadi(d.297H) more info: Here

Imam al-Muhasibi reported that the Prophet (s) said, "My Nation is going to split into 73 divisions and only one of them will be the Group of Salvation." And Allah knows best that the Group is the people of Tasawwuf. (He went deeply into the explanation of that subject, in the book Kitab al-Wasiya p. 27-32.)
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Imam al-Qushayri (375-d.465 H./1072 CE)
Imam al-Qushayri said about Sufism, "Allah made this group the best of His saints and He honored them above all of His Servants after His Messengers and Prophets, and He made their hearts the secrets of His Divine Presence and He chose them from among the Nation to receive His Lights. They are the means of humanity. He cleaned them from all connnections to this world, and He lifted them to the highest states of vision. And He unveiled to them the Realities of His Unique Oneness. He made them to observe His Will operating in them. He made them to shine in His Existence and to appear as Lights of His Lights." [ar-Risalat al-Qushayriyya, p. 2]
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al-Dhahabi says about Imam Al Qushayri :
القشيري الإمام الزاهد القدوة الأستاذ أبو القاسم عبدالكريم بن هوازن بن عبدالملك بن طلحة القشيري الخراساني النيسابوري الشافعي الصوفي المفسر صاحب الرسالة ولد سنة خمس وسبعين وثلاث مئة
Al Qushayri (ra), the Imam of abstinence, the model, the teacher, Abul Qasim Abdul Kareem bin Hawazin bin Abdul Malik bin Talha al Qushayri (ra), the Khurasani and Naysaburi, “SHAFI’I, SUFI AND MUFASIR” the author of Ar-Risalah, he was born in 375 AH [Siyar A'lam an Nubala, Volume No. 11, Page No. 487, Published by Dar ul Kutb al iLmiyyah, Beirut, Lebanon.]

Imam Qushayri (ra) writes in the same Risalah mentioned by al-Dhahabi

هذه رسالة كتبها الفقير إلى الله تعالى عبد الكريم بن هوازن القشيري، إلى جماعة الصوفية ببلدان الإسلام، في سنة سبع وثلاثين وأربعمائة. أما بعد: رضي الله عنكم فقد جعل الله هذه الطائفة صفوة أوليائه، وفضلهم على الكافة من عباده، بعد رسله وأنبيائه، صلوات الله وسلامه عليهم، وجعل قلوبهم معادن أسراره، واختصهم من بين الأمة بطوالع أنواره.

This is a precise book written by a Faqir of Allah called Abdul Kareem bin Hawazin al Qushayri. It is written about the group of Sufis living in Islamic world, the year of its writing is 437 AH. Ama Ba’ad (O the one listening, reading and seeing) May Allah be pleased with you. Allah has granted these (Sufis) a top ranking status, He has chosen them above all slaves after the Prophets and Messengers. Allah’s blessing and Peace be upon them, may Allah keep on choosing their hearts for expressing His secrets as amongst whole Ummah they are granted the Nur (of guidance) [Ar Risalah al Qushayriya, Page No. 42]
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His most famous work, however, is his Risala ila al-sufiyya or Epistle to the Sufis, which is one of the early complete manuals of the science of tasawwuf, together with
Abu Nasr al-Sarraj's (d. 378) Kitab al-luma` (Book of lights),
Abu Talib al-Makki's (d. 386) Qut al-qulub fi mu`amalat al-mahbub wa wasf tariq al-murid ila maqam al-tawhid (The nourishment of hearts in dealing with the Beloved and the description of the seeker's way to the station of declaring oneness),
 Abu Bakr al-Kalabadhi's (d. 391) al-Ta`arruf li madhhab ahl al-tasawwuf (Defining the school of the People of Self-purification), and
Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami's (d. 411) Tabaqat al-sufiyya (Biographical layers of the Sufis).

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Imam al-hafidh Abu Nu`aym Isfihani (336-430AH) Abû Nu`aym, Ahmad ibn `Abd Allâh ibn Ahmad ibn Ishâq ibn Mûsâ ibn Mahrân al-Mihrânî al-Asbahânî or al-Asfahânî al-Ahwal al-Ash`arî al-Shâfi`î
mentions right in the Muqadma of his acclaimed Hadith work Hiliya tul Awliya (Volume 1, Page No 32) 
أما بعد: أحسن الله توفيقك فقد استعنت بالله عز وجل وأجبتك إلى ما ابتغيت، من جمع كتاب يتضمن أسامي جماعة وبعض أحاديثهم وكلامهم، من أعلام المتحققين من المتصوفة وأئمتهم، وترتيب طبقاتهم من النساك ومحجتهم، من قرن الصحابة والتابعين وتابعيهم ومن بعدهم، من عرف الأدلة والحقائق

Ama Ba’d: (O concerned) May Allah grant you good, I ask for help from Allah and write this book fulfilling your proposal. The compilation of this book deals with the sayings and conditions of an eminent group (amongst Muslims). This group is of Sufis and A’ima, their merits shall be mentioned in order of their Tabaqat i.e. starting from the era of Sahaba, then Tabiyeen and then those who followed them. These are the people who knew well the proofs and realities.
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Hilyat al-Awliyâ' wa Tabaqât al-Asfiya' ("The Adornment of the Friends of Allâh awjand the Biography-Layers of the Pure Ones") in ten volumes, one of the earliest comprehensive encyclopedias of Sûfî personalities. The book sold in Abû Nu`aym's lifetime in Naysabûr for four hundred gold dinars and received many editions to our time. Ibn al-Jawzî attacked him for including the Companions in it, then proceeded to epitomize it in his two-volume Sifat al-Safwa, in which he studiously avoided using the words sûfî and tasawwuf. Ibn Kathîr praised the work as an illustration of the author's strength in hadîth narration. Ibn al-Subkî relates that this book was among Shaykh al-Islâm Taqî al-Dîn al-Subkî's favorite works. Abû Nu`aym stated the following in his introduction:
I have compiled a book that comprises the names, narrations, and sayings of a number of personalities among the most eminent verifying Sûfîs and their Imâms, arranged in the order of their biographical layers (Tabaqât) and including those famous for abundant worship together with their methods. It begins with the time of the Companions, their Successors, and those who came after them.
More info: Here 
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Imam Ghazali (450-505 H./1058-1111 CE)
Imam Ghazali,  hujjat ul-Islam, the Proof of Islam, said about Sufism, "I knew to be true that the Sufis are the seekers in Allah's Way, and that their conduct is the best conduct, and their way is the best way, and their manners are the most sanctified. They have cleaned their hearts from other than Allah and they have made them as pathways for rivers to run receiving knowledge of the Divine Presence." [al-Munqidh min ad-dalal, p. 131].
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Imam al-Bayhaqi (384-458AH) in Shu’ab ul Iman, Volume 6, Page No. 356, Hadith No. 8501:
أخبرنا أبو زكريا بن أبي إسحاق قال حضرت مجلس أبي الحسن بن سمعون فسأله رجل عن التصوف ما هو قال إن له اسما وحقيقة فعن أيهما تسأل فقال عنهما جميعا فقال أما اسمه فنسيان الدنيا ونسيان أهلها وأما حقيقته فالمداراة مع الخلق واحتمال الأذى منهم من جهة الحق 

Narrated by Abu Zakriyyah bin Abi Ishaq who said that he went to the gathering of Abul Hassan bin Samoon (ra) where a person asked him: What is Tassawuf?, He replied: It has a name and also reality, which of the two have you asked about? The questioner said: Both, He replied: In name it means to forget the world and its residents (i.e. dedicate yourself only to Allah), whereas the reality of it is to deal nicely with creation, not to harm them and also to share their pain for the sake of Allah.
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 Imam Baihaqi in Shu’ab ul Iman, Volume 3, Page No. 261-262 Hadith No. 3487:

أخبرنا ابو عبد الرحمن السلمي قال سمعت عبد الواحد بن بكر يقول سمعت محمد بن داود الرقي يقول عن أبي العباس بن عطاء قال سعى ساع بالصوفية إلى الخليفة فقال إن ها هنا قوما من الزنادقة يرفضون الشريعة فأخذ ابو الحسين الثوري وأبوحمزة والرقام وتستر الجنيد بالفقه فكان يتكلم على مذهب أبي ثور فأدخلوا على الخليفة فأمر بضرب اعناقهم فبرز ابو الحسين إلى السياف ليضرب عنقه فقال له السياف مالك برزت من بين أصحابك فقال أحببت أن أوثر أصحابي بحياة هذه اللحظة فتعجب السياف من ذلك وجميع من حضر وكتب به إلى الخليفة فرد أمرهم إلى قاضي القضاة
إسماعيل بن إسحاق فقام إليه الثوري فسأله عن أصول الفرائض في الطهارة والصلاة فأجابه ثم قال وبعد هذا فإن لله عبادا يأكلون بالله ويلبسون بالله ويسمعون بالله ويصدرون بالله ويردون بالله فلما سمع القاضي كلامه بكى بكاء شديدا ثم دخل على الخليفة وقال إن كان هؤلاء القوم الزنادقة فما على وجه الأرض موحد

Abul Abbas bin Ata (rah) narrates: Some backbiter complained about Sufis to the Caliph that these people are zindeeq and those who have departed from the religion, hence Abul Hassan Thawri (rah), Abu Hamza (rah) and Riqam (rah) were captured, and Junaid got busy in fiqh as he used to do kalaam on the way of Abu Thawr (rah). These people were presented infront of the Caliph of that time who ordered them to be killed. Abul Hassan quickly came infront of the Jallad so that he is the one to be killed first.. The Jallad asked him: What happened, Why did you come ahead from amongst all? He (Abul Hasan) replied: I have given preference to my friends so that they live a little more than me. The Jallad became amazed upon looking at the Isaar (of these Sufis) and refused to kill anyone of them, he was amazed from the one and also all of them.

...He wrote a letter to the caliph and sent their case to the Qadhi ul Qudha who was Ismail bin Ishaq (rah). Even in the court Abul Hasan Thawri (rah) came ahead first. The Judge asked him about the Usool of Deen, Faraid, Taharah and Salaat. He (Abul Hasan) gave (perfect) answers to all and said: after these usool and faraid there are special people of Allah who get food and drink by Allah who hear with (his hearing) and He is the one who answers for them. When the Qadhi heard his speech he wept profoundly and went to the Caliph and said: If these people have departed from religion and are zindeeq then there is no Mawhid on the face of this earth.
-End of narration by Imam al Hafidh al-Bayhaqi (ra)-
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Imam al Bayhaqi (ra) narrates many ahadith in praise of Sufis in his hadith work Shu’ab ul Iman, in one hadith he mentions the chain of narrators as
أخبرنا ابو عبد الله الحافظ أخبرني ابو بكر محمد بن داود بن سليمان شيخ عصره في التصوف حدثني علي بن محمد بن خالد
It is narrated by Abu Abdullah al-Hafidh who heard from Abu Bakr Muhammad bin Dawud bin Sulayman “THE SHEIKH OF HIS TIME IN TASSAWUF” who heard from Ali bin Muhammad bin Khalid…[Shu’ab ul Imaan, Volume No. 3, Page No. 170, Hadith # 3251]
Also see (al-Dhahabi , Siyar A'lam al-Nubala, Volume: 12, p,83)

[Also see: Al-Zuhd al-Kabir (The Major Book of Asceticism), which arranges the relevant narrations of the Companions and early Sufis by subject-heading.]
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al-Dhahabi says :
الإِمَامُ الْحَافِظُ الرَّبَّانِيُّ الْعَابِدُ، شَيْخُ الصُّوفِيَّةِ أَبُو بَكْرٍ، مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ دَاوُدَ بْنِ سُلَيْمَانَ النَّيْسَابُورِيُّ الزَّاهِدُ… قَالَ أَبُو الْفَتْحِ الْقَوَّاسُسَمِعْتُ مِنْهُ، وَكَانَ يُقَالُإِنَّهُ مِنَ الأَوْلِيَاءِ وَسُئِلَ الدَّارَقُطْنِيُّ عَنْهُ، فَقَالَفَاضِلٌ ثِقَةٌ أَرَّخَهُ الْحَاكِمُ، وَقَالَهُوَ شَيْخُ عَصْرِهِ فِي التَّصَوُّفِ، 
The Imam, the Godly Hafidh. The devout worshipper. “THE SHEIKH OF SUFIS” Abu Bakr Muhammad bin Dawud bin Sulayman al-Naysaburi. “THE ZAHID”...Imam Abu Fatah was heard saying: He is amongst the “AWLIYA”...Imam Dara Qutni was asked about him and he said: He is “FADHIL AND THIQA”...Imam Hakim also narrated from him and said: He was sheikh of Tasawwuf in his time [Siyar A'lam al-Nubala, Volume No. 12, Page No. 83]
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الصُّوفِيُّ الشَّيْخُ الْمُحَدِّثُ الثِّقَةُ الْمُعَمَّرُ أَبُو عَبْدِ اللَّهِ، أَحْمَدُ بْنُ الْحَسَنِ بْنِ عَبْدِ الْجَبَّارِ بْنِ رَاشِدٍ الْبَغْدَادِيُّ، الصُّوفِيُّ الْكَبِيرُ 
The Sufi, the sheikh, the truthful Muhadith. Abu Abd Ullah Ahmed bin Hassan bin Abdul Jabbar bin Rashid al Baghdadi. “THE GREAT SUFI” [As-Siyaar A'lam al-Nubala, Volume No. 17, Page No. 211] 
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Sheikh Abdul Qadir al Jilani (R) (470AH-561AH/1078-1166CE) In beginning of Section 5 writes on Page No. 449: The Truthful Fuqara are those people who walk the path of Sufis, They clean themselves from the evil desires. They are amongst the Abdaal and Awliya… [Al-Ghuniya Tut Talibi Fi Tariq al Haqq, Page No. 449]
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Imam Nawawi (620-676 H./1223-1278 CE)
Imam Nawawi said, in his Letters, al-Maqasid, "The specifications of the Way of the Sufis are five:
To keep the Presence of Allah in your heart in public and in private;
To follow the Sunnah of the Prophet (s) by actions and speech;
To keep away from dependence on people;
To be happy with what Allah gives you, even if it is little;
To always refer your matters to Allah, Almighty and Exalted." [Maqasid at-Tawhid, p. 20]
Imam Fakhr ad-Din ar-Razi (544-606 H./1149-1209 CE)
Imam Fakhr ad-Din ar-Razi said, "The way the Sufis seek Knowledge is to disconnect themselves from this worldly life, and keep themselves constantly busy in their mind and in their heart, with Dhikrullah, during all their actions and behaviors." [Ictiqadat Furaq al-Musliman, p. 72, 73]

Ibn Khaldun (733-808 H./1332-1406 CE)
Ibn Khaldun said, "The way of the Sufis is the way of the Salaf, the Scholars among the Sahaba, Tabieen, and Tabicat-Tabieen. Its origin is to worship Allah and to leave the ornaments of this world and its pleasures." [Muqaddimat ibn Khaldan, p. 328]

Also: Muqadma, Page No. 381:
علم التصوف هذا العلم من العلوم الشرعية الحادثة في الملة وأصله أن طريقة هؤلاء القوم لم تزل عند سلف الأمة وكبارها من الصحابة والتابعين ومن بعدهم طريقة الحق والهداية واصلها العكوف على العبادة والانقطاع إلى الله تعالى والإعراض عن زخرف الدنيا وزينتها والزهد فيما يقبل عليه الجمهور من لذة ومال وجاه والانفراد عن الخلق للعبادة وكان ذلك عاما في الصحابة والسلف فلما فشا الإقبال على الدنيا في القرن الثاني وما بعده وجنح الناس ف إلى مخالطة الدنيا اختص المقبلون على العبادة باسم الصوفية والمتصوفية
The Knowledge of Tassawuf is a branch from the sciences of Shariah that originated within the Umma from beginning, their way is the way of truth (haqq) and guidance (Hidaya) adopted by the great early Muslims (salaf), Imams, the Sahaba (Ridhwan Allaho Ajmain) their followers (Tabiyeen) and those who came after them. The approach is based upon constant application of worship, complete devotion to Allah, aversion to the false splendor of the world, abstinence from pleasure, property, and position to which the great mass aspire, and retirement from the world into solitude for divine worship. This was the norm of Sahaba and Islaaf, however when worldly aspirations increased in the second century and after, but those dedicated to worship came to be known as Sufiya or People of Tassawuf. [Published by Dar ul Kutab al ILmiyyah, Beirut, Lebanon.] 

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Imam Tajuddin as-Subki (728AH - d. 771AH)
Tajuddin as-Subki (r) mentioned in his book Muceed an-Naceem, p. 190, under the chapter entitled Sufism, "May Allah praise them and greet them and may Allah make us to be with them in Paradise. Too many things have been said about them and too many ignorant people have said things which have no relation to them. And the truth is that they have left dunya and are busy with worship."
He said, "They are the People of Allah, whose duca and prayers Allah accepts, and by means of whom Allah supports human beings."
Imam Jalaluddin as-Suyuti (849-d.911AH)
He said in his book Ta'yad al-haqiqat al-cAliyya, p. 57, "Sufism in itself is the best and most honorable knowledge. It explains how to follow the Sunnah of the Prophet (s) and to leave innovation."
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Ibn Taymiyya (661-728 H./1263-1328 CE)
In Majmaca Fatawa Ibn Taymiyya, published by Dar ar-Rahmat, Cairo, Vol, 11, page 497, Book of Tasawwuf, Ibn Taymiyya says: "You have to know that the rightly-guided shaikhs must be taken as guides and examples in the Dan, as they are following in the footsteps of the Prophets and Messengers. The Way (tariqat) of those shaikhs is to call people to Allah's Divine Presence and obedience to the Prophet."

Ibn Taymiyya says on page 499 of the same volume: "The shaikhs whom we need to take as guides are our examples and we have to follow them. As when on the Hajj (the pilgrimage), one needs a guide (dalal) to reach the Kacba, these shaikhs are our guide (dalal) to Allah and our Prophet (s)."
Among the shuyukh he mentioned are: Ibrahim ibn Adham, Macruf al-Karkhi, Hasan al-Basri, Rabia al-Adawiyya, Junaid ibn Muhammad, Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani, Shaikh Ahmad ar-Rafa'i, and Shaikh Bayazid al- Bistami.

Ibn Taymiyya quotes from Bayazid al-Bistami on page 510, Volume 10: "...the great Sufi shaikh, Bayazid al-Bistami, and the famous story of when he saw God in a vision (kashf) and said to Him: 'O Allah what is the way to You?' And Allah responded, 'Leave yourself and come to Me.'" Ibn Taymiyya continues quoting Bayazid al-Bistami, "I shed my self as a snake sheds its skin."

Implicit in this quotation is an indication of the need for zuhd (self-denial or abstention from the worldly life), as that was the path followed by Bayazid al-Bistami.
So we see from the above quotes, that Ibn Taymiyya was accepting many shaikhs by quoting them and urging people to follow guides to show the way to obey God and to obey the Prophet (s).

What Ibn Taymiyya Says About the Term Tasawwuf

"The crucible itself tells you, when you are strained, Whether you are gold or gold-plated copper." Sanai.
Following is what Ibn Taymiyya said about the definition of Tasawwuf, from Volume 11, At-Tasawwuf, of Majmuca Fatawa Ibn Taymiyya al-Kubra, Dar ar-Rahmah, Cairo:

"Alhamdulillah, the use of the word tasawwuf has been thoroughly discussed. This is a term that was given to those who were dealing with that branch of knowledge (tazkiyat an-nafs and Ihsan)."

"Tasawwuf is the science of realities and states of experience. The Sufi is that one who purifies himself from everything which distracts him from the remembrance of Allah and who is so filled with knowledge of the heart and knowledge of the mind that the value of gold and stones will be equal to him. Tasawwuf safeguards the precious meanings and leaves behind the call to fame and vanity to reach the state of Truthfulness. The best of humans after the prophets are the Siddaqan, as Allah mentioned them in Surat An-Nisa', 69: "All who obey Allah and the Messenger are in the company of those on whom is the grace of Allah: the prophets, the sincere lovers of truth (siddiqeen), the martyrs and the righteous; Ah! what a beautiful fellowship.'"

He continues about the Sufis, "They are striving to be obedient to Allah... So from them you will find the Foremost in Nearness by virtue of their striving. And some of them are from the People of the Right hand..."

 

The Sufi Cloak (khirqa)

Before proceding to Ibn al-Qayyim, it may be useful to say something about the wearing of the Sufi cloak. In the view of the Trustworthy, there are three categories of shaikh:

The Shaikh of the Cloak
The Shaikh of the Dhikr
The Shaikh of Guidance

The first two categories (The Shaikh of the Cloak and The Shaikh of the Dhikr) are really deputies of a shaikh, representing the reality of the shaikh or the tariqat through the intermediary of either the cloak or the dhikr. The Shaikh of the Cloak (Khirqah) depends on the power of the cloak to act on the murid. The murid takes his support from the cloak, which a fully realized Shaikh of Guidance has imbued with his blessings.
The murid of the Shaikh of Dhikr is supported by the dhikr, not directly by the shaikh. In these two cases, the shaikh becomes the symbol, because the real support of the murid is the cloak or the dhikr.

The highest of the three categories is the Shaikh of Guidance. He is the one who supports the murid without any intermediary, directly from himself to the murid. He is the real shaikh because, without any means, he supports and directs the murid directly through his heart. That is why Sayyidina Ahmad al-Faraqi said, "In our tariqat the shaikh guides the murid directly, unlike other tariqats which use the cloak and other means to lift up their murids."
In the Naqshbandi Tariqat only one shaikh, the Shaikh of Guidance, is therefore accepted as possessing real authority. When that shaikh passes away, the murids must renew their initiation with his successor, to whom he has transmitted all his secrets and his inheritance from the Prophet (s) and all his predecessors in the Golden Chain.

Ibn al-Qayyim (d. 751 H./1350 CE)

Imam Ibn Qayyim stated that, "We can witness the greatness of the people of ta awwuf in the eyes of the Salaf by what has been mentioned by Sufyan ath-Thawri (d. 161 H./777 CE). One of the greatest imams in the 2nd century and one of the foremost mujtahids, he said: "If not for Abu Hisham as-Sufi (d. 115 H./733 CE) I would never have perceived the action of the subtlest forms of hypocrisy (riya') in the self." (Manazil as-Sa'ireen)

Ibn Qayyim continues: "Among the best of people is the Sufi learned in fiqh."

Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyya wrote his three-volume Madarij al-salikin, a detailed commentary on ‘Abdullah al-Ansari al-Harawi’s tract on the spiritual stations of the Sufi path, Manazil al-sa’irin. These works show that their authors’ criticisms were not directed at Tasawwuf as such, but rather at specific groups of their times, and they should be understood for what they are. 
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In his book, "Natural Healing with the Medicine of the Prophet," (English translation of Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyya's Tibb an-Nabbi), Pearl Publishing House, Philadelphia, 1993, the translator, Muhammad al-Akili, writes: 

 "Later on, he (Ibn al-Qayyim) pursued his quest for knowledge at the hands of renowned masters and scholars of his epoch, as well as he studied the works and teachings of sufi masters known in his time." [p. xi]

"He (Ibn al-Qayyim) compiled a large number of studies besides his own books, including:
1. Tahthib Sunan Abi Dawoud (Emendation of Sunan Abi Dawoud);
2. Al-Kalam al-Tayyib wa-al-'Amal al-Salih (The Essence of Good Works and Deeds);
3. Commentaries on the book of Shaikh Abdullah al-Ansari: Manazil-u Sa'ireen (Stations of the Seekers), which is considered the epitome of knowledge of sufi books; and Zad al-Ma'ad (Provisions of the Hereafter).' [p. xiii]
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Imam Ibn Abidin (1198–d.1252 AH / 1783–d.1836 AD)
The great scholar, Ibn Abidin in his book Rasa'il Ibn Abidin (p. 172-173) states: "The Seekers in this Way don't hear except from the Divine Presence and they don't love any but Him. If they remember Him they cry. If they thank Him they are happy. If they find Him they are awake. If they see Him they will be relaxed. If they walk in His Divine Presence, they melt. They are drunk with His Blessings. May Allah bless them."
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Imam Malik Reject Sufism?


Q. al-Qadhi ‘Iyadh is known to be a great sunni scholar, yet quiet recently a salafi brother pointed out that in his book “Tadreeb al-Madarik”, al-Qadhi quotes a narration from Imam Maalik who rejected sufism. This confused me deeply and I wanted to know if you could clarify this issue for me please.

Reply:

Certain opponents of tasawwuf adduce two reports, one chainless and one weak-chained, originating in a man from the city of Naseebeen (Iraq) who has been critiqued as munkar al-hadith or ‘disclaimed in his narrations’ to claim that Imam Malik derided group dhikr:

1. Al-Tinnisi said: We were sitting with Malik with his companions around him. A man from the people of Nasibin said, ‘We have some people who go by the name of Sufis. They eat a lot then they start [chanting] poems (qasa’id), after which they stand up and start dancing.’ Malik said, ‘Are they boys (sibyan)?’ He said no. Malik said, ‘Are they insane?’ He said, ‘No, they are old men (mashayikh) and other than that, and they are mature and sane (`uqala’).’ Malik said, ‘I never heard that any of the people of Islam do this.’ The man said to him, ‘Indeed, they do! They eat, then they stand up and start dancing intensively (dawa’ib), and some of them slap their heads, and some their faces.’ Malik started laughing then went into his house. His companions said to the man, ‘You were, O man, ill luck (mash’um) for our friend [Malik]. We have been sitting with him thirty-odd years and never saw him laugh except today.’

This is narrated without chain by al-Qadi `Iyad. in Tartib al-Madarik (2:53-54).

2. `Abd al-Malik ibn Ziyad al-Nasibi said: ‘We were with Malik when I mentioned to him Sufis in our city. I said to him that they wear fancy Yemenite clothes, and do such and such. He replied, ‘Woe to you! Are they Muslims?’ He then laughed until he lay on his back. Some of his companions said to me, ‘What is this? We have not seen more trouble (fitna) caused to the Shaykh than you, for we never saw him laugh!?’

Narrated by al-Khallal in al-Hathth `ala al-Tijara wal-Sina`a wal-`Amal (ed. Abu Ghudda, §97) with a weak chain because of `Abd al-Malik ibn Zyad al-Nasibi who is ‘condemned in his narrations and untrustworthy’ (munkar al-hadith, ghayr thiqa) according to al-Azdi as per Ibn al-Jawzi in al-Du`af?’ wal-Matrukin (1:149) while Ibn Hibban in his Thiqat (8:390) said he reports oddities from Malik.

Content-wise, neither of the above reports shows unambiguous condemnation of group dhikr but only that some people who passed for Sufis in the Imam’s time reportedly committed certain childish excesses or irrational breaches of decorum.

The reports only show that Imam Malik found the story amusing.
The delator seems obsessed by the ‘eating and dancing’ which he mentions twice as if afraid Malik didn’t hear it the first time.
There is also on the part of Malik’s circle a clear disapproval of the delator who is apparently perceived as an interloper.

And Allah knows best.
Shaykh GF Haddad

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Muslims are bombarded with negative pseudo-salafi propaganda all over the internet.
It should not surprise anyone then that such propaganda stretches its rejected rhetoric to Imam Ash-Shafi’i.

Read any “salafi” site’s article on “Sufism” and you will assuredly find the following quote from Imam Ash-Shafi’i:

“If a person exercised Sufism (Tasawafa) at the beginning of the day, he does not come to Dhuhur except an idiot.” [Talbees Iblees].

Shaykh Gibril Haddad states in response to this quote:

Abu Nu`aym narrated with his chain in Hilyat al-Awliya’ that al-Shafi`i said: “If a person did NOT exercise Sufism at the beginning of the day, he would not reach Zuhr except an idiot.” And this is true, as shown by the detractors of Sufism till our time.

He also states in a later article:

A contrary version of the latter saying reads:

 “A rational man does not become a Sûfî except he reaches noon a dolt!”

 Al-Bayhaqî narrates this from al-Hâkim, from Abû Muhammad Ja`far ibn Muhammad ibn al-Hârith from al-Hasan ibn Muhammad ibn al-Dahhâk (IbnBahr), both of unknown reliability.

For obvious reasons, this is the preferred version of the detractors of Sufis. {5 footnote: Narrated by al-Bayhaqî, Manâqib (2:207) cf. Ibn al-Jawzî, Sifat al-Safwa (1:25) and Talbîs Iblîs (1985 ed. p. 447) and Ibn Taymiyya in his Istiqâma (p. 414).}

The athar alluded to by Shaykh Gibril Haddad is found in Hilyatul Awliyaa’ as follows:
حدثنا محمد بن عبد الرحمن حدثني أبو الحسن بن القتات، حدثنا محمد بن أبي يحيى، حدثنا يونس بن عبد الأعلى، قال: سمعت الشافعي يقول: لولا أن رجلا عاقلا تصوف لم يأت الظهر حتى يصير أحمقحدثنا مح بن عبد الرحمن حدثني أبو الحسن بن القتات، حدثنا محمد بن أبي يحيى، حدثنا يونس بن عبد الأعلى، قال: سمعت الشافعي يقول: لولا أن رجلا عاقلا تصوف لم يأت الظهر حتى يصير أحمق.

“If a rational man does not become a Sufi he does not reach noon except he is a dolt!”

Commenting Shaykh Gibril states, “Abû Nu`aym narrates this from Muhammad ibn `Abd al-Rahmân ibn al-Fadl, from Abû al-Hasan [Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn al-Hârith] ibn al-Qattât [al-Mis.rî], from the thiqa Muhammad ibn Abî Yahyâ, from the thiqa Imâm Yûnus ibn `Abdal-A`lâ, from the Imâm.”

So let not the pseudo-salafis on paltalk and elsewhere call Shaykh Gibril Haddad a “Liar”, and “one who can not be trusted in knowledge!” For it is as he has said.

Adding to the list of positive statements of Imam Ash-Shafi’i regarding Tasawwuf is the following:

صحبت الصوفية فلم استفد منهم سوى حرفين، وفي رواية سوى ثلاث كلمات: قولهم: الوقت سيف إن لم تقطعه قطعك. وقولهم: نفسك إن لم تشغلها بالحق شغلتك بالباطل. وقولهم: العدم عصمة
“I accompanied the Sufis for ten years and benefited from them but from two sayings [and in another report three sayings]: their statement that time is as a sword: if you do not cut it, it cuts you, and their statement that deprivation is immunity.”

[The reported third states: “their statement: if your soul does not keep busy with truth it will keep you busy with batil.”]

Shaykh Gibril states (I have added the arabic) commenting on this athar: “Narrated from Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Idrîs al-Shâfi`î by al-Bayhaqî in Manâqib al-Shâfi`î (2:208) cf. Ibn al-Qayyim in Madârij al-Sâlikîn (3:128) and al-Jawâb al-Kâfî (p. 208-209) and al-Suyûtî in تأييد الحقيقة العلية Ta’yîd al-Haqîqat al-`Aliyya (p. 15)”

Adding again to his statements Imam ‘Ajluni reports that Imam Ash-Shafi’i said,
حبب إلي من دنياكم ثلاث: ترك التكلف، وعشرة الخلق بالتلطف، والاقتداء بطريق أهل التصوف
[source:1089 كشف الخفاء ومزيل الالباس عما اشتهر من الأحاديث عل ألسنة الناس]

“Three things in this world have been made lovely to me: avoiding affectation, treating people kindly, and abiding by the way of the people of tasawwuf!”

In the non-pseudo-salafi publication of the Diwan of Imam Ash-Shafi’i we find:
فقيها وصوفيا فكن ليس واحدا فإني وحق الله إياك أنصح
فذلك قاس لم يذق قلبه تقى وهذا جهول كيف ذو الجهل يصلح
Faqîhan wa-s.ufiyyan fakun laysa wâh.idan
fa’innî wa-h.aqqillâhi iyyâka ans.ah.u
Fadhâlika qâsin lam yadhuq qalbuhu tuqan
wahâdhâ jahûlun kayfa dhûl-jahli yas.luh.u
“Be both a jurisprudent and a sûfî – never just one of the two.
Truly, by the Divine Right, I am advising you sincerely!
For the former is hardened, his heart tastes no God wariness,
While the latter is ignorant – of what use is the ignorant?”
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Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab (d.1206AH) himself repeats at least four times in his different letters that that he “never accused of unbelief Ibn Arabi or Ibn al-Farid for their Sufi interpretations.”
[ Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, ar-Rasa’il al-Shakhsiyya, pg 11, 12, 61, 64.]

His son Abdallah is quoted as saying,
"My father and I don't deny or criticize the Science of Sufism, but on the contrary we support it because it cleans the external and the internal of the hidden sins which are related to the heart and the outward form. Even though the individual might externally be on the right way, internally he might be on the wrong way; and for its correction tasawwuf is necessary."
[Mu ammad Man an-Nu’mani, Ad-ia'at al-Mukaththafa Didd ash-Shaikh Muammad ibn Abdul Wahhab, pg 85. ]Also see: [Mawqaf aimmat al-Salafiyyah fi al-tasawwuf wa al-sufiyya. By Shaykh Abdul Hafeez Makki.]

Abdullah ibn Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab
Following is a quotation from Muammad Man ar Numani's book (p. 85), Ad- ia'at al-Mukaththafa Didd ash-Shaikh Muammad ibn Abdul Wahhab: "Shaikh Abdullah, the son of shaikh Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab, said about Tasawwuf: "My father and I don't deny or criticize the Science of Sufism, but on the contrary we support it because it cleans the external and the internal of the hidden sins which are related to the heart and the outward form. Even though the individual might externally be on the right way, internally he might be on the wrong way; and for its correction tasawwuf is necessary."

In the fifth volume of the collection of letters by Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab (d.1206AH) entitled ar-Rasa'il ash-Shakhsiyya, page 11, and again on pages 12, 61, and 64, he states:
"I never accused of unbelief Ibn Arabi or Ibn al-Fari  for their Sufi interpretations."
--

Muhammad Abduh (1265-1323 H./1849-1905 CE)
He stated, "Tasawwuf appeared in the first century of Islam and it received a tremendous honor. It cleansed the self and straightened the conduct and gave knowledge to people from the Wisdom and Secrets of the Divine Presence." [quoted from Majallat al-Muslim, 6th ed., 1378 H, p. 24].
(The term "Salafi" was revived as a slogan and movement, among latter-day Muslims, by the followers of Muhammad Abduh (the student of Jamal al-Din al-Afghani)

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Ibn al-Jawzi (d.597AH) meets Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani (ra)

” Once Shaykh Ibn Jawzi attended a gathering of Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani (ra) and one of his friends came with him, Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani realized that Ibn al-Jawzi was a great scholar, so Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani started speaking about the different Tafsir’s of the Quran because he wanted to change the views of Ibn al-Jawzi  about Tasawwuf so he put the real image of Tasawwuf in the mind of Ibn Jawzi.
A verse was recited he gave one explanation to it the friend of  Shaykh Ibn Jawzi said do you know this Tafsir ? he said yes this is a famous Tafsir of the verse for the same verse Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani gave a Second Tafsir then a Third Tafsir, Fourth Tafsir, Fifth Tafsir sixth , seventh , eighth , ninth he gave Eleven Tafsir’s to one verse every time he gave a Tafsir the companion of Ibn al-Jawzi asked him do you know these Tafsir’s, Eleven Tafsir’s he knew, The twelfth Tafsir that Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani gave Ibn al-Jawzi had never heard of it Thirteenth Tafsir, Fourteenth Tafsir, Fifteenth Tafsir, Forty Tafsirs Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani gave to one verse, they say the State of Ibn al-Jawzi had changed he was so impacted, this took him back, they say he stood up in Haal in Wajd (ecstasy) he said ‘La illah ila Allah Muhammad Rasul Allah’ and Ibn al-Jawzi ripped his clothes!”
Ibn al-Jawzi ripped his clothes because, he understood the true meaning of ‘Faqir’. May Allah grant us barakah in understandings as he has granted Ibn al-Jawzi .
[This incident is mentioned in Qala’id al-Jawahir (Necklaces of Gems) by Shaykh Muhammad ibn Yahya al-Tadifi al-Hanbali Rahimahullah]

--

Shaykh Gibril Fouad Haddad on the book "Talbis Iblis"

"Ibn al-Jawzi also defended Sufis in other books, as Talbis Iblis is only one of hundreds of books he wrote. So whatever you do not like in it, you can find him defending it in another book of his. As for Talbis Iblis, to defend the status of that book as reliable shows basic ignorance since the Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani (d.852AH) himself authored an abridgment of that book from which he removed all forgeries.

This is enough proof for even a child that Talbis Iblis is unreliable in the Religion.
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Talbis Iblis, a work written against the Shi`a and the wayward Sufis!
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Ibn al-Jawzi was severely tried towards the end of his life when his criticism of Shaykh `Abd al-Qadir al-Gilani - his senior of forty years - led to accusations made against him to the Sultan al-Nasir by the Shaykh's children and supporters. Thereupon Ibn al-Jawzi was publicly reviled, seized, and dragged away to jail while his house was sealed and his dependents dispersed. He was taken from Baghdad to the city of Wasit where he remained imprisoned for five years during which he never once entered a hammam, patching up his own clothes and preparing his own food. Ibn al-Jawzi was released after his son Yusuf succeeded in securing the intercession of the Caliph's mother in his favor. At that time the Imam was about eighty years old.
[Main source: al-Dhahabi, Siyar A`lam al-Nubala' 15:483-494 #5342.] Here
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"Al-Suyuti also marked his distaste for al-Dhahabi's aspersions against early and late Sufi authorities as noted further below. Among the worst examples of al-Dhahabi's bias against Sufis are his aspersions against Abu Yazid al-Bistami and al-Hakim al-Tirmidhi in Siyar A`lam al-Nubala'.[Al-Dhahabi, SAN (11:14-15 #2434)]
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al-Dhahabi, while claiming general belief in `Abd al- Qadir's miracles, nevertheless affirms disbelief in many of them. We have already seen this trait of al-Dhahabi in his doubting of the sound report of Imam Ahmad's admiration of al-Muhasibi.
These are his words: “Siyar a`lam al-Nubala”, [#893] al-Shaykh `Abd al-Qadir (Al- Jilani): The shaykh, the imam, the scholar, the zahid, the knower, the exemplar, Shaykh Al-Islam, the distinguished one among the Awliya... the Hanbali, the Shaykh of Baghdad... I say: There is no one among the great shaykhs who has more spiritual states and miracles (karamat) than Shaykh `Abd al-Qadir, but a lot of it is untrue and some of those things are impossible.”

Imam Ibn al-Jawzī

In the biography of saints Sifat-us-Safwah (Volume 1: Page 441-442), he writes about Ibrāhīm bin Ishāq Harabī:

"And his grave is open to everyone. People receive blessing from it." 
Click here for Scan: Page (165)

[Sifa al-Safwa in four volumes, an abridgment of Abu Nu`aym's compendium of Sufis titled Hilya al-Awliya, in which he cited al-Junayd as saying: "Of the marks of Allah's wrath against a servant is that He makes him very busy with what is of no concern to him"]
Imam Ibn al-Jawzi has also described Adam’s intermediation through the holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) in the first chapter of his book al-Wafā bi-ahwāl-il-Mustafā (1:33) see page 149.
Imam Ibn al-Jawzi says in his magnificent Seerah work called “Al Wafa bi Ahwaal lil Mustafa

Abu Bakr al-Minqari said: I was with (al-hafiz) al-Tabarani and Abu al-Shaykh in the Prophet's Mosque, in some difficulty. We became very hungry. That day and the next we didn't eat. When it was time for `isha,I CAME TO THE PROPHET’S GRAVE AND I SAID: "O Messenger of Allah, we are hungry, we are hungry" (ya rasullallah al-ju` al-ju`)! Then I left. Abu al-Shaykh said to me: Sit. Either there will be food for us, or death. I slept and Abu al-Shaykh slept. al-Tabarani stayed awake, researching something. Then an `Alawi (a descendant of `Ali) came knocking at the door with two boys, each one carrying a palm-leaf basket filled with food. We sat up and ate. We thought that the children would take back the remainder but they left everything behind. When we finished, the `Alawi said: O people, did you complain to the Prophet? I saw him in my sleep and he ordered me to bring something to you. [Al-Hafiz Ibn Jawzi, Kitab al Wafa, Page 818]   (al-Wafa bi Fada'il al-Mustafa, a large work on Prophetic biography and immense merits in several hundred chapters)
--
Hadith Narrated by Maysara (ra), I asked: "O Messenger of Allah, when were you [first] a Prophet?" He replied: "When Allah created the earth ‘Then turned He to the heaven, and fashioned it as seven heavens’(2:29), and created the Throne, He wrote on the leg of the Throne: "Muhammad the Messenger of Allah is the Seal of Prophets" (Muhammadun Rasûlullâhi Khâtamu al-Anbiyâ'). Then Allah created the Garden in which He made Adam and Hawwa' dwell, and He wrote my name on the gates, its tree-leaves, its domes and tents, at a time when Adam was still between the spirit and the body. When Allah Most High instilled life into him he looked at the Throne and saw my name, whereupon Allah informed him that 'He [Muhammad SAWS] is the liege-lord of all your descendants.' When Satan deceived them both, they repented and sought intercession to Allah with my name."

[Ibn  al-Jawzi in Al Wafa bi Ahwaal lil Mustafa, Page No. 26, Published by Dar ul Kutab al Ilmiyyah]

Imam Muhammad bin Yusuf al-Salihi (student of Imam al-Hafidh As-Suyuti) said:
This hadith is narrated by Ibn Jawzi and the chain of it is “STRONG” and there is nothing wrong in it” [Subul al-Hadi wal Rashhad, Volume No.1, Page No. 86 – Dar ul Kutb al iLmiyyah]
--
Imam Ibn al-Jawzi in his al-Muntazam fi al-Tarikh, a ten-volume history of Islam in which he narrates with his chain from al-`Abbas ibn Hamza and Musa ibn `Isa respectively: “I prayed zuhr behind Abu Yazid al-Bistami(ra). When he first wanted to raise his hands to say Allahu akbar he was unable due to his great awe of Allah's name. His joints began to shake until I could hear the rattling of his bones, which shocked me.... He used to rebuke himself and say to his soul every morning: "O lair of every evil! A woman has menses then becomes pure again after three to ten days, but you, O my soul! have been sitting for twenty and thirty years and not become pure yet. When will you clean yourself?" [In Ibn al-Jawzi, al-Muntazam (5:28-29).]
--
To a man who kept asking him who was better, Abu Bakr or `Ali, he replied: "Sit down. You are better than everyone else."
--




"IN THE TIME OF THE PROPHET TASAWWUF  WAS A REALITY WITHOUT A NAME.
TODAY TASAWWUF IS A NAME, BUT FEW KNOW ITS REALITY."

Nobody embodied the noble character of the Prophet (s) better than the Companions and the generation which followed them. This is why all the Sufis are convinced that all the Companions were truly Sufis, whatever the historical origin of the term may be. 

Tassawuf has not changed its a core part of Islam , the same like hadeeth , fiqh and tawheed , but only one sect in Islam have outlawed it due to their own prejudices and bias against it which happened of a period of 600 years due to different political and inter madhab rivalry .
--

Ali Ibn Uthman al-Hujwiri, in his book Kashf al-Mahjub :
"Some assert that the sufi is so called because he wears a woolen garment (jama'i suf); others that he is so called because he is in the first rank (saff-i awwal); others say it is because the sufis claim to belong to the Ashab-i Suffa, with whom may God be well-pleased! Others, again, declare that the name is derived from safa (purity)." [p. 30].

He then describes Ashab al-Suffa or Ahl al-Suffa (the People of the Veranda) in the following words: "Know that all Moslems are agreed that the Apostle had a number of Companions, who abode in his Mosque and engaged in devotion, renouncing the world and refusing to seek a livelihood. God reproached the Apostle on their account and said: 'Do not drive away those that call on their Lord morning and evening, seeking only to gain His Face' (Qur'an 6:52). . .

It is related by Ibn Abbas that the Apostle passed by the People of the Veranda, and saw their poverty and their self-mortification and said:
Rejoice! for whoever of my community perseveres in the state in which you are, and is satisfied with his condition, he shall be one of my comrades in Paradise.' [p. 81].

The Ahl al-Suffa included, among others, Bilal ibn al-Rabah, Salman al-Farisi, Abu Ubayda ibn al-Jarrah, Abu Dharr al-Ghifari, Khabbab ibn al-Aratt, Abdullah ibn Umar, and Abdullah ibn Masud (RadiyaíLlahu anhum)" [p. 81]. 

The composition of the traditional treaties on Sufism provides written clarification of experience and doctrines and explanations of their foundations, principles, methods and spiritual practices.  This clarification is beneficial because not only does it answer hostile criticisms but it also awakens desire for the spiritual life in those who are seeking assemblies for the remembrance of GOD (maglis al-dhikrullah) and the experience of spiritual love (al-mahabba). This is the reason d’etre of all the Sufi ways in every time.
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Hasan al-Basri who died (110 years) after the Hijra, and is reported to have said, "I saw a Sufi circumambulating the Kaaba, and offered him a dirham, but he would not accept it."

It therefore seems better to understand Tasawwuf by first asking what a Sufi is; and perhaps the best definition of both the Sufi and his way, certainly one of the most frequently quoted by masters of the discipline, is from the sunna of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) who said:
Allah Most High says: "He who is hostile to a friend of Mine I declare war against. My slave approaches Me with nothing more beloved to Me than what I have made obligatory upon him, and My slave keeps drawing nearer to Me with voluntary works until I love him. And when I love him, I am his hearing with which he hears, his sight with which he sees, his hand with which he seizes, and his foot with which he walks. If he asks me, I will surely give to him, and if he seeks refuge in Me, I will surely protect him"
(Fath al-Bari, 11.340–41, hadith 6502);
This hadith was related by Imam Bukhari, Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Bayhaqi, and others with multiple contiguous chains of transmission, and is sahih.

Tasawwuf was accepted as an essential part of the Islamic religion by the ‘ulama of this Ummah.

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Who was this Man?
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Ibn `Abbas said, "This was Asif, the scribe of Sulayman (AS).'' It was also narrated by Muhammad bin Ishaq from Yazid bin Ruman that he was Asif bin Barkhiya' and he was a truthful believer who knew the Greatest Name of Allah.
Qatadah said: "He was a believer among the humans, and his name was Asif.'' Here

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Who was this Tabi’een?

“The story of Uwais Al-Qarni (ra) (d.37H-657CE) was mentioned in Sahih Muslim as well as in other books. Now even though he was from the Tabi’een and did not see the Messenger [Salah Allahu Alaihi wa salam], the Messenger [Salah Allahu Alaihi wa salam] had advised ‘Umar ibn Al-Khatab [Radiya Allahu ‘Anhu] that if he meets [Uwais] then he, ‘Umar, should ask [Uwais] to ask Allah to forgive him and to make supplication for him.Asir ibn Jaabir radhiallahu `anhu narrated: Whenever people would come from Yemen, `Umar radhiallahu `anhu would ask them, “Is Uways Al-Qaranee amongst you?” until, one year, he met Uways […] [Sahîh Muslim (2542)]
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Regarding Uwais Qarni (r), Prophet (s) said: "Uwais Qarni is the noblest of the Tabieen with ihsaan." (The highest stage of ihsaan is to worship Allah Ta'ala as if you are seeing Him.)

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Abu Sa’eed Khudri (RA) (d.64/74H) narrates that Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) said: Engage so excessively in Zikr until they (wicked people) say He is mad!
[Narrated by Ahmad, Abu Ya’la, Haakim, Ibn-Hibban ]
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Abu Sa'id Khudri (d.64/74H) reported that Mu'awiya went to a circle in the mosque and said:
What makes you sit here? They said: We are sitting here in order to re- member Allah.
He said: I adjure you by Allah (to tell me whether you are sitting here for this very purpose)? They said: By Allah, we are sitting here for this very purpose. Thereupon, he said: I have not demanded you to take an oath, because of any allegation against you and none of my rank in the eye of Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) is the narrator of so few ahadith as I am. 
The fact is that Allah's Messenger (s) went out to the circle of his Companions and said: What makes you sit? 
They said: We are sitting here in order to remember Allah and to praise Him for He guided us to the path of Islam and He conferred favours upon us. 
Thereupon he adjured by Allah and asked if that only was the purpose of their sitting there. They said: By Allah, we are not sitting here but for this very purpose, whereupon he (the Messenger) said: I am not asking you to take an oath because of any allegation against you but for the fact that Gabriel came to me and he informed me that Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, was talking to the angels about your magnificence. [Sahih Muslim: Book 35, Hadith, 6521]

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Shaykh ibn ‘Abd Al-Ghani narrates the following story in the Arabic forum.
“Now, I do not claim that I met that Noble Tabi’ee himself; rather I met a man from his school. A man following in the same footsteps of Uwais, and here is my story with him.” Here
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Dr Muhammad Musa Al-Sharif from King Abdul Aziz University is a well known and respected Salafi Scholar. Here he makes a statement about:
 Khwaja Muinuddin Chisti that NO Salafi/Protestant Scholar has ever acknowledged to this day:watch video Here

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Sultan Shahāb-ud-Din Muhammad Ghori,(d.602AH) originally called Mu'izzuddīn Muḥammad Bin Sām (and also referred to by Orientalists as Muhammad of Ghor) (1162 – 15 March 1206 CE), was a ruler of the Ghorid dynasty who reigned over a territory spanning present-day Afghanistan, Pakistan and northern India.

"The founder of  Chishty Order of Sufis"
Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Hasan Chishty (ra) popularly known as Khwaja Gharib Nawaz (ra) (d.633 AH) more info: Here

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Quote:

Answered by: A group of scholars and authors.
Date: 06/1427/09.

Translated for IslamicNetwork.com

[…]

“The Ash’aris and Maturidis have opposed what is correct when they performed Ta’wil of the Divine Attributes of Allah the Exalted, however, they are from Ahl us Sunnah wal Jama’ah and not from the seventy-two misguided sects except those who go into extremes among them in denial and agree with the Jahmiyah- where his ruling would then be like those of the Jahmiyah.

As for the remainder of the Ash’aris and Maturidis, then they are not like that, and they are excused for their Ijtihad even if they erred in the truth. It is permissble to work and cooperate with them in piety, righteousness and goodness.”


“Take Ibn Taymiyah, who studied under many of the scholars of the Ash’aris, nay, he even fought under the banner of the Mamlukes-the rulers of that time-and the generality of them were Ash’aris, nay, the military leader of that time, the brave Nuruddin al-Zanki the martyr as well as Salahuddin al-Ayubi were both Ash’aris, as has been stated by Imam adh-Dhahabi in his Siyar ‘Alam an-Nubala.

And there were many besides them from the scholars, military leaders and people of rectification. Many of the scholars and Imams of the Muslims were Ash’aris and Maturidis such as;

al-Bayhaqi, al-Nawawi, Ibn al-Salah, al-Mizzi, Ibn Hajr al-Asqalani, al-Iraqi, al-Sakhawi, al-Zayla’i, al-Suyuti, and indeed, all of the explainers of (Sahih) al-Bukhari were Ash’aris and many besides them.”

[…]

Signed:
Dr. Abdul Aziz ibn Abdul Fattah al-Qari’ (former head of the faculty of the Qur’an at the Islamic University)
Dr. Muhammad ibn Nasir al-Suhaibani (teacher at the Prophets Masjid)
Dr. Abdullah ibn Muhammad al-Ghunayman (former head of the department of higher studies at the Islamic University)
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Dr. Ali M. Sallabi on the Ash’arism and Sufism of Sultan Salah al-Din :

SALAHUDDIN AND THE ‘ASHARIYYA

Dr. Sallabi concludes, 
“Salah ad-Deen Ayubi paid a great deal of attention to preserving the basic principals of Islamic belief in accordance with the madh-hab of Ahlul Sunnah. They (the Ayubids) followed the methodology of the ‘Ashari Madhab and strove hard to fight any deviation therefrom…”

Later in the text, the author confirms that the Ayubid dynasty (of which Salahuddin was the ruler) strove hard to abolish the false sects and creeds in all the lands that they had power over, which included Egypt, Syria, and Aleppo. The primary focus of the Ayubid dynasty, after Qu’ran and Sunnah, was naturally ‘aqeedah, on which Dr. Sallabi confirms,“The Ayubids paid attention to protecting and preserving the basic principles of belief according to the madh-hab of Imam ‘Ashari…” 

Dr. Sallabi writes, “…he (Salahuddin) also paid attention to attracting the Sufi’s, so he established for them the first Sufi khanqah in Egypt, which was devoted especially to poor Sufi’s who came from all over the world, and he set up many endowments for them, and appointed a shaykh to run their affairs who was known as Shaykh Al-Mashayikh.”
He further writes, “Al-Maqreezi states that the Sufi’s who lived there (in Egypt) were known for their knowledge and piety, and that the numbers of it’s (the khanqah’s) inhabitants were three hundred. The Sultan (i.e. Salahuddin) provided bread, meat, and sweets for them every day, and allocated 40 dirhams every year for clothing, and he built a house nearby for them. If any of them wanted to travel, he gave him some money to help him reach his destination.”


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IBN TAYMIYYAH ON WHO ARE
THE AHLUS SUNNAH WAL JAMAH

Ibn Taymiyyah (d.728 AH) writes:
“Those who take hold of the pure and unadulterated Islam – free from deviation and crookedness – they are Muslim Orthodoxy; within them are
the  righteous and upright holy ones (Ar. As-Siddiqun),
the martyrs (Ar. Ash-Shuhada’),
the pious (Ar. As-Salihun) – and from them are
the great luminaries of guidance (Ar. A`lam ul-Huda),
the lamps of goodness (Ar. Masabih ud-Duja) who possess numerous virtues and favours that have and could be mentioned.
Now within this group are
the High Ranking Saints (Ar. Al-Abdal) – and within them are
the Imams of the Religion (Ar. A’immat ud-Din) that the Muslims have made Consensus on their being upon right guidance – and these are
the Victorious Group and Aided Group (Ar.At-Ta’ifat ul-Mansurah)  
who the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said of them,
‘There will always be a group from my Ummah, upon the truth and manifest with it. Those who oppose them or abandon them will not harm them until the Hour comes.’
We ask Allah that He makes us from them and that He make our hearts not slip after He guided us and bestowed on us mercy from Himself. Indeed He is the Bestower and Allah knows best.”
[ Matn ul-`Aqidat il-Wasitiyyah (Ar.), pp. 30-31.]
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[As translated by Usthad Abu Jafar al-Hanbali here]

As one can see, Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamah or Muslim Orthodoxy is not defined simply as “Quran and Sunnah” nor restricted to “Salaf” nor a cult formed on self proclaimed notions of “mujahideen and caliphate”.

Muslim Orthodoxy is a comprehensive congregation, and a majority congregation as mentioned in the hadiths, within which are all of the personalities listed above.

It is not a congregation that is isolated or a congregation that got hidden or lost and rediscovered by reading a book. ( Here )

It is a continuously living congregation that has been victorious from the time of the Sahabah.
The criteria of one rightfully being a part of the Muslim Orthodoxy is when the religion one follows is upon the same belief, understanding and methodology of Islam as these righteous predecessors that have continually existed from the Salaf till today.
source: Here
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(Edited by ADHM)