Schools of Thought Among the Sufis


بسم الله الرحمن الرحيمThe Reality of Sufism

Book: The Reality of Sufism

In Light of the Qur’aan & Sunnah

by: Shaykh Muhammad ibn Rabee’ ibn Haadee al-Madkhalee

It is possible to divide the ideologies of the extreme Sufees into three categories.

(1) The first category: Followers of the Illuminist school of philosophy. They are those who give greater importance to the philosophical ideas over avoidance of the worldly life. What is meant by ‘Illuminism’ is that the soul is illuminated by light, which diffuses in the heart and is a result of spiritual exercises, training the soul and punishing the body in order to rectify and purify the spirit. This is something, which may be a characteristic of all Sufis, except that the people of this category draw the line here and do not fall into what those who claim that Allaah dwells within His creation fall into, or that everything is Allaah. However this way of theirs is contrary to the teachings of  Islaam and is taken from the deviated religions such as Buddhism and its like.

(2) The second ideology is that of those who believe in hulool, those who say  that Allaah dwells and is incarnate in human beings, High is Allaah above and far removed from that. This was openly called to by some of the extreme Sufis, such as al-Husayn ibn Mansoor al-Hallaaj who was declared to be an unbeliever by the scholars. They ordered that he be executed and he was crucified in the year 309H. The following saying is attributed to him:

“Glory to Him who manifested His human nature,Hiding the piercing brightness of His divinity:Till His creation saw Him openly, In the form of one eating and drinking”

Attributed by al-Wakeel to the book at Tawaaseen of al Hallaaj(p.130).

And his saying:

“I am the one who loves and the One who is loved is me, We are two spirits who dwell in a single body. So when you see me you see Him, and when you see Him you see us both.”

So al-Hallaaj was a believer in hulool and believed in the duality of the divine nature and that the Deity had both a divine and a human nature. Thus the divine becomes incarnate within the human so that the human spirit is the divine nature of the Deity and the body is its human form.

Despite the fact that he was killed for his evil apostasy although some of the Sufis declare themselves free of him, yet others count him as a Sufi, hold that his beliefs were correct, and write down his words. From them is Abdul-‘Abbaas ibn ‘Ataa al-Baghdaadee, Muhammad ibn Khaleef ash–Sheeraazee and Ibraheem an-Nasraabaadhee, as is reported by al-Khateeb al-Baghdaadee.

(3) The third ideology is that of wahdatul-wujood, i.e. that all in existence is a single reality, and that everything we see is only aspects of the Essence of Allaah. The chief claimant of this belief was Ibn ‘Arabee al-Haatimee at-Taa’ee, who was buried in Damascus having died in the year 638H. He himself says about this belief in his book al-Fatoohaat-ul-Makkiyyah”

“The slave is the Lord and the Lord is a slave,I wish that I knew which was the one required to carry out the required duties. If I were to say the servant then that is true, or if I were to say the Lord, then how can that be required for Him.”

Al-Fatoohaat-ul-Makkiyyah as it is attributed by Dr. Taqiyyuddeen al-Hilaalee in his book al-Hadiyyatul-Haadiyah (p.43).

He also says in al-Fatoohaat:

“Those who worshipped the calf worshipped nothing except Allaah.”Quoted as Ibn ‘Arabee’s saying by Ibn Tayrniyyah in al Fataawaa (vol.11) who attributes it to the book al Fatoohaat.

Ibn ‘Arabee is called ‘al-‘Aarif billaah’ (The one having great knowledge of Allaah) by the Sufis, and also ‘al-Qutubul Akbar’ (The great pivot), ‘al-Miskul-Adhfar’ (the sweetest smelling musk), ‘al-Kibreetul-Ahmar’ (the reddest brimstone), despite his belief in wahdatul-wujood and other calamitous sayings. Indeed he praised Fir’awn (Pharaoh) and declared that he died upon eemaan!

Furthermore he speaks against Haroon for his criticism of his peoples worship of the calf, thus directly opposing the text of the Qur’aan. He also held that the Christians were Unbelievers only because they made divinity particular to ‘Eesaa, whereas if they had made it general to all then they would not have been unbelievers. [Despite all the gross deviation of Ibn ‘Arabee and the fact that the scholars declared him to be an Unbeliever, yet he is revered by the Sufis and others who do not distinguish between the truth and falsehood, and those who turn away from accepting the truth even when it is as clear as the sun. But his books, which are filled with clear apostasy, such as al-Fatoohaatul-Makkiyyah and Fusoosul-Hikam are still circulated. He even has a tafseer, which he called at-Tafseerul-Baatin since he holds that there is an apparent and a hidden meaning for every Aayah, so the outer meaning is for the people of Ta’weel]

From this group came Ibn Basheesh who said:“O Allaah rescue me from the mire of Tawheed, and drown me in the centre of the sea of unity, and mix me into the state of unity and oneness until I do not see,nor hear,nor sense except through it.”

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