Category Archives: True Sufism/ Tasawwuf


Shaikh al-Akbar, Mohiuddin ibn Arabi Rahmatullah Alaihi, in his book “FUTOOHAT AL MAKKIYA”, writes about “Rijaal ullah” (The MEN of ALLAH), and confidently states that there are only three types of them and no fourth! After detailed description of the first two types, he turns his attention to the third type, and praises them with such glorious words “Lahum tabqatul ulya” (these are the best of all). Please note that this praise is coming from Imam ul Auliya, and no less than a person who is known as “SHAIKH AKBAR” amongst sufis.

Now let us see how Shaikh al Akbar describes these people:  

1) As far as salaat is concerned, they do no more the FARA’IZ and RAWATEB (i.e. sunan-e-muakkada after farz salat). One will never find them involved in nawafil.

2) Not only salat, but even in the rest of Deeni requirements, and the rest of the Fara’iz they keep to the bare essentials, and no more.

3) The way they do these Fara’iz they try to do as the common people, no distinction can be found between them and a common Mu`min.

4) They wander in bazaars like common people, and involved in small talks common to the rest of the people, one will never find any “Arifaana Rumooz” in their discussions.

5) They deliberately try to be seen as commoners and no different than Awaam (general public)

6) Their clothing is similar to the tradition of the common working class people of the area they live in.

7) They never specify a place for themselves in the masjid, they keep themselves along with the crowd.

8) They are never known for karamat, people consider them no more than ordinary people, sometimes not even up to the level of ordinary Saliheen.


1) In the depths of their hearts they are connected to Allah Ta’ala in such a way, as if there is nothing except ALLAH in their Batin

2) In this particular Sifat, i.e. their inner connection to Allah Ta’ala, they are so firm, so concentrated and so determined, that nothing can move their attention away from Allah Subhana wa Ta’ala.

3) Their constant effort remains to keep their relation of “’Uboodiyat” with their creator fresh, evergreen, and never out of their sight.

4) They are always under the intense realization (Istihzaar) of the grandeur of Allah Ta’ala; their extreme helplessness, total dependency, complete misery in front of their creator is always in front of their eyes, resulting in utter lack of pride, a feeling of absolute nothingness and total annihilation of ego.

5) Their eyes are always on the Creator even for the smallest of their needs, despite that, they obey all the rules of “alam e asbab” without fail; the reality that everything been done by Allah Rabbul ‘Izzat is never hidden from their eyes

Shaikh Akbar thinks —


Hakeem-ul-Ummat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi Rahmatullah Alaih writes;

“In the terminology of Sufis a group whose physical deeds are limited only to faraez, but their “Deeds of the Heart” (A’maale qalbiya) are more, are called QALANDAR. And the deeds of the heart are those in which Qalb is constantly kept attentive to Allah Subhana wa Ta’ala,keep love of Muslims in heart, most of the time keep one’s heart busy in remembrance of Allah Subhana wa Ta’ala, for example SABAR is a batini amal, similarly SHUKR is a batini amal, RAZA BIL QAZA is a Batini amal. These are not visible, but those who practice these and other such amaal, are constantly becoming closer and more closer to Allah. Subhana wa Ta’ala”.

Similarly Niyyat (intention) is a batini amal, when one practices it his whole life become Ibadah, for example, early in the morning going to office for his duty, if one makes an intention of “Rizqe halal” plus “earning for his family” plus “service to humanity”….his whole day is spend in Ibadah, even if one is apparently involved in worldly things.

Care in observing Sunnah in daily routines with correct intention is highest Ibadah, for example, we have to wear shirt anyway, why not put right sleeve first and left sleeve second, and same with shoes; but remove the left shoe first and right second. We have to wear shoes anyway. 

These are just 2 examples. (A good reference book for similar Sunnah is Uswa-e-Rasool-e-Akram by Dr. Abdul Hayy Al Aarefi (Rahmatullah Alaih)

The purpose of writing this post is this: “If someone thinks that he is so busy that he cannot spare time for Roohani mujahidaat, the way of Allah Subhana wa Ta’ala is open to all”


[It will infuse the essence in our Ibaadaat!]


By Mujlisul Ulama



Promoting itself to be in the limelight which is in total conflict with the spirit which should imbue a khaanqah, and which is in diametric contradiction of the attitude of Ikhfaa’ and Goomnaami (concealment and being unknown) which are among the fundamental constituents of Akhlaaq-e-Hameedah (Beautiful  moral character) for which Khaanqahs had been established by the Auliya, the institution in Azaadville, dubbing itself   ‘khaanqah akhtari’, advertises such of its activities which are in stark conflict with the Maqaasid (Objectives) of Tasawwuf which are supposed to be the profession of a khaanqah.  

Among the advertised activities which are in total negation of the life of a khaanqah, the following are cause for lament:


Appealing to the public to participate in its programmes. This is absolutely revolting for a khaanqah and for personnel who operates a khaanqah. It portrays total lack of ghairat of the shaikh operating the khaanqah which is nothing but a ‘khaanqah’ in name.

The Imaani ghairat (honour) of a genuine Shaikh of Tasawwuf does not tolerate fishing for mureeds. The Mashaaikh are extremely averse and critical of a Shaikh who fishes for mureeds. The motive for increasing the circle of mureeds is nafsaani. It is motivated by hubb-e-jah (love for name and fame) and hubb-e-maal (love for wealth).

It is this despicable love which has ruined all the shaikhs and their khaanqahs of this era. It is this evil of hubb-e-dunya which prevents them from proclaiming the Haqq and which constrains them to conceal the Haqq or to deceptively adorn it with the inspirations whispered to them by shaitaan and the nafs. Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “The love of this dunya is the root of every evil.”

Whilst the profession of the genuine Mashaaikh of genuine khaanqahs was always the effort to expel the love of the dunya from the hearts of the mureedeen, the emphasis today of the shaikhs and their khaanqahs exercises is the very opposite. There is no resemblance between these khaanqahs of today and the Khaanqahs of the true Mashaaikh of Tasawwuf.

Since the khaanqah akhtari has taken the liberty of misconstruing Allaamah Sha’raani’s statement pertaining to thikr majaalis, we emphasize that the sheikh of this khaanqah in particular, makes an indepth study of Allaamah Sha’raani’s kitaab, Tambeehul Mughtarreen, as well as his other Kutub on the subject of Tasawwuf. If he accepts this naseehat, studies the Kitaab with ikhlaas and with the niyyat of understanding the brazen deviation of his khaanqah operation, he shall not fail to discern the lamentable folly of his methodology which is the very antithesis of Tasawwuf and in total conflict and nugatory of the Maqsad of Tasawwuf and the purpose of a khaanqah.

For the edification of all the shaikhs or so-called shaikhs of today’s so-called khaanqahs, we mention here some naseehat of Allaamah Sha’raani (Rahmatullah alayh) of the 10th Islamic century. In Tambeehul Mughtarreen, the venerable Allaamah states:

“My Ghairat-e-Imaani has constrained me to write such a kitaab in which I make known those signs of Akhlaaq-e-Muhammadi (the Moral attributes of excellence of our Nabi – Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) which have been eliminated from the Ulama-e-Zaahir and Ulama-e-Baatin of this age. Therefore, this Kitaab is equally beneficial for every Faqeeh and Sufi. No one is independent of studying it.……..

What relationship does the haal (spiritual and moral condition of excellence and perfection) of these Mashaaikh (of former times) have with the mashaaikh (of this tenth century) who journey from Misr or Hijaaz or Shaam to Room and Iraq? They come requesting from the kings estate and status whereas they had ample means of sustainment in their homelands.

For them it was appropriate to have refused any gifts from a king even if he presents it of his own accord……

It is known that the very first step of the Mureed in Tareeqat (Tasawwuf) is to eliminate his wealth from his possession and to cast it in the ocean of despair.”

Commenting on the putrid state of the crank sufis, Allaamah Sha’raani (Rahmatullah alayh) says:

“Some of them link up with such people (i.e. crank shaikhs) who have not journeyed even a single step in Tareeqat. They swot of some words about fana and baqa and some shathiyaat (profane words of jaahil sufis) which have no support in either the Qur’aan or Hadith. Then they don a jubbah (cloak of the sufis) and an amaamah. Then they tour the lands of Room, etc. making a show of austerity and silence whilst expecting gifts from the rulers. Generally, a stipend is fixed for them (by the Sultans).

Thus, in this manner do they fill their bellies with haraam for they have acquired such wealth from the rulers by deception.”

Unfortunately, this is precisely the methodology of today’s shaikhs. To promote their khaanqahs. They tour the country and even foreign countries ostentatiously projecting their thikr majaalis to impress and rope in mureeds. Their public thikr majaalis and halqah thikr sessions are the chimera with which they deceive people. They have cronies who prowl around like wolves roping in mureeds for the sheikhs. Some of their moron khalifahs smoke, use profanities and even four-letter vituperations, and have no regard for even Jamaat Salaat, leave alone the Sunnah in their everyday life activities.

Some of these moron, vile khalifahs are even paedophiles and indulge in sodomy even inside the Musjid in the auspicious month of Ramadhaan, in I’tikaaf during the last Ten glorious days and nights. They seek out deceptive ways for communications with female ‘mureedahs’. Invariably they become entrapped in acts of moral turpitude and even zina with their ‘mureedahs’.

To enable themselves to maintain langar khaanahs (public kitchens), and to indulge in sumptuous feasting and merrymaking, the shaikhs of our time bootlick and flatter the wealthy fussaaq traders. They stay in their khaanqah business with their ostentatious public ‘thikr majaalis’ to advertise the idea of their ‘piety’ and having attained lofty spiritual ranks. All of this is to impress the wealthy class to ensure a regular flow of funds to sustain their wasteful and merrymaking khaanqah operations in the name of Tasawwuf.

In this manner they consume haraam, feed their mureeds and others whom they rope in with haraam thereby destroying their dunya and their Aakhirat. Whilst the Sunnah Tareeq of all the Auliya was austerity and extreme frugality, the sheikhs of today have destroyed themselves and others with their gluttonous indulgence in merrymaking, mass I’tikaafs, jalsahs, and deceptive halaqah thikr sessions which have no relationship with the Sunnah. Yet they have the naked audacity of tearing from its context a statement of Allaamah Sha’raani (Rahmatullah alayh) to bolster their baatil and israaf.

Any brand of sufi’ism or tasawwuf which is in conflict with the Sunnah is Satanism. What resemblance does today’s khaanqah akhtari or khaanqah zakariyya or any other khaanqah have with the type of Khaanqah described by Allaamah Sha’raani (Rahmatullah alayh)? There is no resemblance whatsoever. On the contrary, the khaanqahs of today are worldly institutions camouflaged with an extremely thin, see-through ‘deeni’ veneer. The reality of the deviation of these khaanqahs is not hidden from intelligent men of even the dunya. 

Addressing one jaahil sufi, such as the sufis of our age, Allaamah Sha’raani (Rahmatullah alayh) said:

“O my Brother! It is Waajib by Ijma’ to rectify Ibaadat in terms of the Zaahir of the Kitaab and Sunnah. A man who does not differentiate between haraam and makrooh is a jaahil. It is not at all permissible to follow a jaahil whether in the Zaahir or Baatin.”

This is the condition of the sheikhs of today’s khaanqahs. They argue away the haraam and makrooh ahkaam of the Shariah to accommodate their nafsaani desires and nafsaani objectives. That is precisely how they justify luring women from their homes to attend their majaalis and merrymaking functions. Truly, this sheikhs who lure females out of their homes in stark conflict with the Shariah’s prohibition are shayaateenul ins (human devils).

Continuing his naseehat, Hadhrat Allaamah Sha’raani (Rahmatullah alayh) said:

“The Salf-e-Saaliheen always stressed the imperative importance of being confined to the Qur’aan and Sunnah. They would emphasize abstention from Bid’ah, and acquit themselves with exceptional harshness in this matter. When Ameerul Mu’mineen, Hadhrat Umar Bin Khattaab (Radhiyallahu anhu) contemplated doing something, and if someone would say that Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) did not do this act in this manner nor did he instruct doing it, he (Hadhrat Umar) would then refrain from it.”

But the sheikhs of today’s khaanqahs become extremely annoyed and even offensive when their attention is drawn to the grossly un-Islamic and anti-Sunnah functions and activities which they have innovated. They seek out flimsy narrations and obscurities to bolster their bid’aat and wasteful functions. One such example is the narration of Allaamah Sha’raani (Rahmatullah alayh) pertaining to thikr majaalis. They ignore the wealth of Naseehat proffered by Allaamah Sha’raani (Rahmatullah alayh) to sufis, sheikhs, quack shaikhs and bogus khaanqah operators. Not even in their wildest dreams are the present-day khaanqah personnel able to hallucinate the exceptional austerity and frugality which according to Allaamah Sha’raani (Rahmatullah alayh) are Waajib constituents of Tasawwuf.

The lifestyle of the today’s sheikhs drowned in opulence, in comparison to the advices of Allaamah Sha’raani (Rahmatullah alayh), is pure shaitaaniyat and nafsaaniyat. These sheikhs of the khaanqahs of our era do not realise that they are filling their bellies with haraam. Their attitudes are haraam. Their functions/jalsahs are haraam. Their thikr majaalis are bid’ah and haraam. They have not even smelt the fragrance of Tasawwuf, leave alone having set foot in this sacred Pathway. But they dig out a narration which they hallucinate to be in support of their bid’ah functions.

The dunya and its attractions have fossilized their brains and their hearts, hence they ignore all the advices of Allaamah Sha’raani (Rahmatullah alayh) which are imperative for the cultivation of roohaaniyat and baseerat, and they gloat over a narration which tenders absolutely no support for their bid’ah halqah thikr sessions. Their khaanqah activities are underlined by worldly and nafsaani objectives, hence they require public thikr programmes, jalsahs, functions and the like to stay in the ‘khaanqah’ business which has become their source of livelihood, not only livelihood, but for amassing wealth. For adding shaitaani colour and adornment to their bid’ah and haraam functions for attracting and entrapping the ignorant and the unwary, they deem it necessary to lure the womenfolk out of their homes for participation in the shaitaaniyat they organize in the name of the Deen. And, they lure the womenfolk out despite the prohibition of the Qur’aan and Ahaadith. The Hadith: “Woman is Aurah. When she emerges, shaitaan lies in ambush for her.”, has absolutely no meaning for these sheikhs who have ruined themselves and countless others whom they have ensnared into their tentacles.

Hadhrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (Rahmatullah alayh) as well as other Mashaaikh have said that when Allah Ta’ala desires to humiliate someone, He embroils him in fitnah with women and amaarid (young lads). Both these evils are on the increase with khaanqah and madrasah personnel.

Proffering advice regarding observance of the Sunnah, Allaamah Sha’raani (Rahmatullah alayh) advises the sheikhs and the sufis: “O my Brother! Follow the Sunnah of Muhammad (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) in your words and deeds. Do not contemplate doing any act as long as you have not ascertained if it complies with the Sunnah.”

It is incumbent for these sheikhs to ascertain whether their halqah-congregational thikr sessions, their merry making jalsah functions, their mass i’tikaafs, their luring women to attend their functions, etc. conform with the Sunnah or conflict with the Sunnah. For acertitude, they will find no support in the Qur’aan and Sunnah nor in the Tareeq of the Salafus Saaliheen for any of these acts of bid’ah and israaf which they have satanically innovated in this belated 14th century. 


On its website, khaanqah akhtari very ostentatiously advertises its bid’ah ‘ibaadat’ programmes. There is no conundrum underlying their motive of the advertisement. The motive is to attract the juhala to enter the circle of this khaanqah and become mureeds of the sheikh. The advert is most despicable. It has the aur’a of bootlicking and the objective of traders. It is a huge disservice for Tasawwuf and a misguidance for the laymen who will gain a lopsided, oblique understanding of the meaning of Tasawwuf.  

Khaanqah programmes are not meant for public consumption, not even Allaamah Sha’raani (Rahmatullah alayh) whom this khaanqah akhtari baselessly cites in support of its thikr activities, as well as the innumerable Auliya, never advertised their khaanqahs. They had no programmes to rope in mureeds. There is no support for khaanqah akhtari in Allaamah Sha’raani’s view regarding the Istihbaab of thikr majaalis. Insha-Allah, we shall revert to this topic further on in this Naseehat.

It is indeed lamentably surprising for a khaanqah to go on an advertising campaign to promote its wares, and in this case bid’ah wares which have no origin in the Sunnah. Advertising ‘thikr’ is motivated by riya and other unwholesome objectives such as   the desire to increase the circle of mureeds, receiving contributions for the sheikh’s projects presented in ‘deeni’ hues, etc. Proffering naseehat to sheikhs of the dunya, Hadhrat Hasan Basri (Rahmatullah alayh) said:

“Do not be like those who acquire knowledge as the Ulama do, but then you act like the juhala…..The punishment of the Ulama is the death of their (spiritual) hearts.”

What is the meaning of the Maut of the heart? Hadhrat Hasan Basri (Rahmatullah alayh) said:

“The Maut of the heart occurs when the dunya is pursued with the Amal of the Aakhirat. By means of the Deen, he (the sheikh) seeks the taqarrub (proximity) of the people of the dunya.”

That is precisely why these khaanqahs of today are advertising themselves, bootlicking the public, luring women out of their homes to attend their bayaans and thikr majaalis, and to even enter into their circles as ‘mureedahs’. The motive for all their advertising is to gain the taqarrub of the people of the dunya. They should hang their heads in shame and scrutinize the innermost recesses of their hearts to understand the eternal damage and destruction they are causing to their dunya and Aakhirat. They are among the worst type of mudhilleen who misguide the juhala, leading them along the pathway to Jahannam.

Hadhrat Fudhail Bin Iyaadh (Rahmatullah alayh) said: “The best Ilm and Amal are those which are concealed from the people.” But these khaanqahs have made it their obligation to gain maximum publicity, hence they utilize the media for promoting themselves. It is unthinkable for people of Tasawwuf to descend to such despicable levels of nafsaaniyat.

Hadhrat Yusuf Bin Asbaat (Rahmatullah alayh) said: “Allah Ta’ala sent Wahi to one of His Nabis: ‘Instruct your people to conceal their A’maal.” 

By advertising himself and his khaanqah, the sheikh is in negation of one of the fundamentals of Tasawwuf, viz. Tark-e-Ikhtilaat (abandoning mingling with people). By advertising themselves, these khaanqah sheikhs of today are seeking the taqarrub of the wealthy. Offering naseehat to the khaanqah advertisers and promoters, Allaamah Sha’raani (Rahmatullah alayh) said:

“Of the akhlaaq of the Salafus Saaliheen was to sever ties with any of their friends who maintained an association with the wealthy without a valid Shar’i motive, e.g. Amr Bil Ma’roof Nahy Anil Munkar. They acted in this manner on the basis of the Hadith which mentions that in Jahannam there is a valley called Muheeb which Allah Ta’ala has prepared for oppressors and the mudaahin Ulama (Ulama who resort to flattering the wealthy, concealing the Haqq and compromising the Haqq for gaining worldly benefits).”

The misguided so-called ‘sufis’ and ‘sheikhs’ of this era dwell in the self-deception of them being zaahids simply because they operate khaanqahs which have in reality no relationship with   genuine khaanqahs of the Auliya of former times. Shaitaan has deceived them into this disbelief. Hadhrat Bilaal Bin Sa’d (Rahmatullah alayh) said: “When a faqeer (buzrug/sheikh of tasawwuf) makes false claims of zuhd, then shaitaan dances around him mocking and jeering him.”

Commenting on the riya of advertising ibaadat, Hadhrat Sufyaan Thauri (Rahmatullah alayh) said: “Riya’ has overwhelmed the Ulama of this age. He makes the ibaadat of people conspicuous for them whilst their baatin is saturated with malice, envy and hatred.”

It is for this reason that despite proclaiming themselves as khaanqah operators and sheikhs of Tasawwuf, they are unable to tolerate valid criticism. Any naseehat regarding their villainous conduct is misconstrued and they and their juhala mureeds who lack the faintest idea of islaah-e-nafs react vindictively and vengefully. Giving naseehat to such hypocritical sheikhs, Allaamah Sha’raani (Rahmatullah alayh) said:

“O my Brother! Examine your nafs. Is it the same inward and outward or not? Recite Istighfaar in abundance. Know that he who advertises himself in conflict with his baatin is a munaafiq. On the Day of Qiyaamat, he will be cast into the pit of the munaafiqeen.”

Whereas the Mahshaaikh of Tasawwuf incumbently adopted seclusion and despised publicity, today’s claimants of Tasawwuf are the very opposite in all fields of Tasawwuf. Publicity, projecting and advertising themselves were extremely abhorrent to the Mashaaikh of the genuine Khaanqahs. Hadhrat Sufyaan Thauri (Rahmatullah alayh) said 13 centuries ago:

“Rare are the Ulama who are able to abstain from ujub (vanity/self-esteem), whose circle of dars is large.”

He would not allow more than three persons to sit in his dars. One day, due to oblibviousness (ghaflat) in this regard, he was overcome with fear when he suddenly noticed the largeness of the gathering. Overcome with fear, he left the gathering and commented: “Alas! I have become trapped in my ignorance. Wallaah! If Ameerul Mu’mineen Umar (Radhiyallahu anhu) had to see a person like me in such a gathering, he would immediately expel me and informed be of my disqualification.”

While teaching Hadith, if a cloud would pass overhead, he would become silent with fear, and would comment: “I fear that perhaps the cloud is laden with stones for raining on us.”

Once when Hadhrat Ta-oos (Rahmatullah alayh), was sitting in the Haram of Makkah imparting Hadith to a huge circle of people, Hadhrat Hasan Basri (Rahmatullah alayh) passed by. Observing this scene, he approached Hadhrat Ta-oos and whispered in his ear: “If this scene pleases you, then get up and walk away.” Hadhrat Ta-oos (Rahmatullah alayh) spontaneously rose and left. He had momentarily gazed into his heart and discerned the hidden thief of ujub to which Hadhrat Basri (Rahmatullah alayh) had alerted him, hence he ignored the huge crowd, immediately discontinued his dars without apologizing or explaining and departed. That was the demand of the Ikhlaas of an illustrious Sufi Shaikh of Tasawwuf.

Once when Hadhrat Ibraahim Bin Adham (Rahmatullah Alayh) passed by the halqah-e-dars of Hadhrat Bishr Haafi (Rahmatullah alayh), he detested the large circle of mureeds and students, and he said: “If this was the halqah of even a Sahaabi, he would have had the fear of ujub.” 

In the Qur’aan Majeed, Allah Ta’ala says:

“Verily, those who conceal the clear injunctions of guidance which We have revealed after We have explained it for the people in the Kitaab, verily they are the ones whom Allah curses and those who curse (also) curse them.”

Commenting on this Aayat, Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (Radhiyallahu anhu) said: “If this Aayat had not been in the Kitaab of Allah, I would never have narrated Hadith to you.”

The Mashaaikh of the Salafus Saaliheen as well as our Akaabireen who followed in the footsteps of the early Mashaaikh, were vehemently averse to publicity. But the sheikhs of today’s mock khaanqahs depart from even the Zaahiri dimension of Siraatul Mustaqeem to promote and advertise themselves, their khaanqahs and their bid’ah activities. They promote bid’ah as if it is the Sunnah, and this is a sign of Qiyaamah. In this regard, the Hadith states:

“Soon will there dawn an age when all the Aabideen (buzrugs such as today’s khaanqah sheikhs and khalifahs) will be jaahil, and all the Ulama will be fussaaq (such as the ulama-e-soo’ of our age.)”

Khaanqah akhtari and khaanqah zakariyya which are in the forefront of advertising and promoting themselves should resort to some sincere soul-searching in the mirror of the naseehat and lifestyle of the genuine Mashaaikh of the Salaasil which they claim to represent. We say without hesitation that they are a disgrace to the Akaabireen whom they claim to be following.

What is the affinity between Tasawwuf and publicity? From whence did they acquire the shaitaaniyat of advertising khaanqahs and ‘thikr’ activities? Personal Ibaadat and khaanqah activities are private affairs to be effected in seclusion. It is abhorrent and evil to advertise ibaadat as if it is carrion chickens advertised by SANHA, MJC and the other vile, corrupt agents of Iblees. We warn these khaanqas that they too are becoming entrapped in the tentacles of shaitaan to become his agents.

Among the outstanding characteristics of the Mashaaikh was khalwat (seclusion) and abhorrence for publicity. The desire for publicity is motivated by riya and other despicable worldly and nafsaani objectives. The ‘khaanqah’ which advertises its weekly and nightly programmes of thikr is not a true Khaanqah in the meaning of the Khaanqahs of Tasawwuf of the Auliya of former times and even of our Akaabireen. In fact, observing the absolutely lackadaisical attitude and conduct of mureeds, Hadhrat Masihullah (Rahmatullah alayh) commenting about his own Khaanqah said: “This is not a khaanqah. It is a mehmaan khaanqah. (i.e. a place for guests/visitors).”

Once when Hadhrat Masihullah (Rahmatullah alayh) went to Saharanpur, he went to meet Hadhrat Shaikh Zakariyya (Rahmatullah alayh). On this occasion, Hadhrat Shaikh was reclining on his bed with two or three khaadims at his bedside. When Hadhrat Masihullah (Rahmatullah alayh) entered the room, Hadhrat Shaikh sat up. He was ma’zoor in his legs and unable to walk. He ordered his khaadims to leave the room. Then he beckoned to Hadhrat Masihullah to come near. When Hadhrat Masihullah was close to him, Hadhrat Zakariyya grabbed him in an embrace and cried profusely, saying: “Take care of the khaanqah. Today the khaanqahs are all desolate/destroyed (weeraan).” This writer heard this episode directly from Hadhrat Masihullah (Rahmatullah alayh). Yes, today’s khaanqahs are mock ‘khaanqahs’ – a disgrace to Tasawwuf and the Akaabireen.

(3) Is the khaanqah a hotel?
The akhtari ‘khaanqah’ advertises with pride: “Many local and foreign brothers spend the entire Ramadaan at the Khaanqah…. Brothers are requested to bring their own bedding. All meals are provided. The Khaanqah also offers a laundry service weekly. Parking facilities for cars are available. Brothers that are arriving by air or by bus can also be picked up if arrangements are made prior to arrival.”

The only ‘laundry service’ a true Khaanqah offers is to purify the nafs from Akhlaaq-e-Razeelah (the evil, despicable attributes if the nafs). But this ‘khaanqah’ has been effectively converted into a type of holiday inn. People are coming for picnicking or camping to this holiday inn-khaanqah. What affinity is there between a khaanqah which has to cater for the acquisition of the Maqaasid of the Aakhirat, and all this merrymaking paraphernalia befitting only hotels and other worldly institutions?

Is there any condonation for these type of holiday-picnicking activities in any of the writings of Allaamah Sha’raani (Rahmatullah alayh), or in the writings of our Akaabireen or in the Ahaadith or Qur’aan?

The one and only activity of a khaanqah is Islaah of the Nafs. The obligation of the Shaikh who operates a khaanqah is to attend to the moral reformation of his mureeds; to cultivate zuhd in them; to weaken their worldly ties and to strengthen the bond with Allah Ta’ala. In a khaanqah the ta’leem and tarbiyat are divestment of the dunya. A khaanqah gives real meaning to Rasulullah’s description of the dunya, namely: “This dunya is jeefah (carrion).” But these khaanqahs of today are the very antithesis of the Objective for which Allah Ta’ala has sent the Ambiyaa (Alayhimus salaam). Did any Nabi ever operate a holiday inn type of ‘khaanqah’?

A khaanqah is not supposed to hanker after public funds and seeking donations to feed and house guests, and to ensure merrymaking and picnicking facilities for local and foreign brothers. It is evil to use these strategies for roping in people to become mureeds. Even their majaalis activities are designed for soothing the nafs of people, to flatter them and to gain worldly benefits from them.

The emphasis accorded to these bid’ah activities is not directed to the Masnoon acts of Ibaadat. A khaanqah has no ‘slots’ and no ‘programmes’. A khaanqah is supposed to be akin to Ghaar-e-Hirah. But under the exceptionally flimsy ‘khaanqah’ veneer, the holiday inn and worldly objectives are being pursued. Nowhere in Allaamah Sha’raani’s writings is there the slightest support for the activities which these mock ‘khaanqahs’ organize to lure men and women into their nafsaani tentacles.

The mass, mock i’tikaaf is the climax in their entertainment programme. Whereas the last ten days and nights of the Mubaarak Month of Ramadhaan are the most precious moments for total immersion in Ibaadat, the holiday-khaanqahs violate the sanctity of the Musjid and the auspicious Days and Nights with merrymaking, gluttony mock programmes which have neither origin nor sanction in the Sunnah.

All four fundamentals of Tasawwuf are insidiously discarded and despite being in a Musjid environment, the aur’a of the jeefah of the dunya preponderates. The style of operation of this holiday inn-khaanqah militates against these four fundamentals: 

• Qillat-e-Kalaam (Little/less talk) • Qillat-e-Ta’aam (Little/less food) • Qillat-e-Ikhtilaat (Little/less mingling/association with people) • Qillat-e-Manaam (Little/less sleep)

Every act advertised by khaanqah akhtari is nugatory of these fundamental requisites of Tasawwuf which khaanqahs are supposed to diligently and vigorously impart and cultivate.

The khaanqah has totally lost the direction. Instead of attending to the laundry of the nafs – of the Baatin, it has taken upon itself the profession of dhobis (washer  men) to wash the dirty clothes of people. The maudhoo of a khaanqah is to wash and purify the nafs, not the physical clothes.

A khaanqah has to develop the Rooh/Baatin with spiritual nourishment by adorning mureeds with Akhlaaq-e-Hameedah which is not possible without stringent adoption of the Sunnah and the Zaahiri Shariah.  The Bid’ah, khuraafaat (nonsensical activities), the merrymaking and picnicking bloat the nafs and emaciate the Rooh.  


Among the conglomeration of baatil organized by the holiday inn-khaanqah is its diabolical luring of women out of their homes in stark contradiction with the Shariah. Under ‘deeni’ cover, the women are exhorted to participate in the picnicking activities of the mock khaanqah. The so-called ‘separate ladies facilities’ are flagrant fisq and fujoor. It is an insidious attempt to bestow ‘deeni’ acceptability and respectability to an act which is abhorrent to Allah Ta’ala and His Rasool (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam).  

The ‘separate ladies facilities’ are a disingenuous attempt to camouflage the fisq and fujoor of the haraam act of luring women out of their homes. What does the sheikh sahib of this khaanqah say regarding the question of women coming to the Musjid for Salaat. We believe that hitherto he is still of the opinion that it is not permissible. If our understanding is correct, then we ask him: By what stretch of Imaani logic do you invite women to come out of their homes in droves to attend your merrymaking khaanqah programmes? Have you eliminated every vestige of Imaani ghairat and hayaa in the pursuit of achieving your nafsaani goals?

Since the akhtari khaanqah has taken the liberty of attempting to justify its bid’ah majaalis thikr on the basis of a statement of Allaamah Sha’raani (Rahmatullah), it devolves on the sheikh of this khaanqah to discover what Allaamah Sha’raani (Rahmatullah alayh) says on the issue of women attending the Musjid and on female emergence on the whole. Furthermore, it will have a salutary effect on the hearts of the khaanqah people if they study with Ikhlaas the numerous and lofty requisites of a khaanqah explained by Allaamah Sha’raani (Rahmatullah alayh) in a number of his spiritually reinvigorating kutub. It is chicanery and deception to dig out from his kutub only the view pertaining to thikr majaalis. Sufis are not supposed to conduct themselves like humbug politicians who are bereft of any principles.

The sheikh, we are sure, will accept that despite women attending the Musjid during the time of Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam), the Sahaabah banned them. They cancelled this initial permissibility despite their age being Khairul Quroon (the Best of Ages) when the highest degree of Taqwa flourished. What satanism has now constrained the sheikh to lure women from their homes in this belated evil era of fitnah and fasaad to attend his holiday inn-khaanqah activities?

Only a veritable shaitaan will today claim that women attending these deceptive ‘deeni’ programmes and functions will emerge in the state of Tafilah (dressed like old hags, shabbily and smelly). They emerge from their homes decorated with their finery and well-perfumed, and deceiving the world with bright and sparkling abayas. So many of them simply slip in behind the driving wheel and drive to the haraam functions and programmes of the deviant sheikhs. These driving aunts are mal-oonat (on whom is Allah’s curse) according to the Hadith.

What has happened to the Aql and Imaan of a sheikh who exhorts women to emerge from their homes to attend his programmes when Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) had said: “Woman is (totally) aurah. When she emerges, shaitaan lies in ambush for her.” When the Qur’aan commands: “Remain (glued) inside your homes…”, what constrains a sheikh who   advertises himself as a sheikh of Tasawwuf to flagrantly violate this prohibition and insidiously call on women to attend his programmes? Indeed the sheikh has lost the path and is following in the footsteps of shaitaan.

Every argument which this sheikh, the liberal gumrah molvis and modernists fabricate for not only condoning female emergence, but for blatantly overriding the prohibitions of the Shariah by treacherously luring and exhorting women into the public domain has been adequately   answered and refuted by us in six booklets on the topic of women attending the Musjid. Anyone interested in these books, may write for copies. The books are also available on our website.

While the emphasis of the Qur’aan and Hadith is on concealment of women, the mock khaanqahs of today advocate display and self-expression for them. Wala houla wa la quwwata…..  This trend of promoting jahl and baatil by supposedly Deeni personnel will be on the increase with the approach of Qiyaamah as predicted by Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam). “All the aabideen (buzrugs/ Sufis / sheikhs of khaanqahs) will be juhala, and all the ulama will be fussaaq.”

There is no support in the writings of Allaamah Sha’raani nor in any of the writings of the Salafus Saaliheen and our Akaabireen for the convoluted view of the khaanqah sheikh regarding his exhortation to women to abandon their homes for participating in his deviant, bid’ah, haraam ‘khaanqah’ programmes.


The only shred of ‘evidence’ the akhtari khaanqah has proffered in the attempt to sustain its bid’ah thikr programmes is a view attributed to Allaamah Sha’raani (Rahmatullah alayh). This is a flapdoodle ‘proof’ for the bid’ah thikr gatherings which the khaanqahs of today organize.

While khaanqah akhtari seeks to extravasate daleel from the view expressed by Allaamah Sha’raani in the 10th century of Islam, we present the categorical view of Hadhrat Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood (Radhiyallahu anhu) who was one of the most senior among the Sahaabah. His Fatwa precedes and pre-empts Allaamah Sha’raani’s view by six centuries and by the authority vested in him by Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam). He was among the most senior Sahaabah. He was constantly in the company of Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam). He was among the greatest Authorities of the Shariah.

When Hadhrat Ibn Mas’ood (Radhiyallahu anhu) was once informed of a thikr majlis taking place in the Musjid, he hastened to the Musjid and had the ‘khaanqah’ group of bid’atis physically expelled from the Musjid.

Once Hadhrat Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood (radhiyallahu anhu) was informed of a group of people engaging in a peculiar form of Thikr. The leader of the group instructed his companions to recite Laa-ilaha illaallaahu 100 times. Then in chorus the group recited. Then he instructed them to recite Subhaanallaah, then Allaahu Akbar, each 100 times. This they did in unison. Meanwhile they were counting the number with pebbles. Hadhrat Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood (radhiyallahu anhu), addressing them said:

“Use the pebbles to count your sins. I guarantee that none of your virtuous deeds will be destroyed (by counting your sins). Alas! O Ummah of Muhammad! (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). How swiftly have you fallen in ruin! The Sahaabah of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) are still numerous in your presence. The garments of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) have not become old and his unbroken utensils are still present. But you have opened the door of deviation.” (Musnad-e-Daarmi)

Allaamah Qaadhi Ibraahim narrates as follows:

“I am Abdullah Bin Mas’ood. I take oath by Him (Allah) besides whom there is no deity. Verily, you have produced a dark bid’ah or you have surpassed the Ashaab of Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).”, i.e. in knowledge and practice” (Majaalisul Abraar)

Shaikhul Islam Ibn Daqeeq presents the riwaayat as follows: “I am Ibn Mas’ood. So, whoever knows me, knows who I am. Whoever does not know me, then know that I am Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood. Do you think that you are more guided than Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and his Ashaab? Verily, you have innovated a dark bid’ah, or you have acquired greater status in knowledge than the Ashaab of Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).” Ibn Mas’ood has refuted this act notwithstanding the probability of it coming within the scope of Thikr in general.”  (Ahkaamul Ahkaam)

Allaamah Muhammad Bin Muhammad Al-Khawaarzami narrates:

“Thikr bil Jahr is haraam since it has been authentically reported that Ibn Mas’ood (radhiyallahu anhu) had expelled a group from the Musjid. They were reciting Tahleel and Durood loudly, and he commented: ‘I deem you to be nothing but mubtadieen (bid’atis).” (Shaami)

Although the sheikh of the akhtari khaanqah is well aware of this episode, he deems it appropriate to cast a blind eye and to sweep it under the carpet. In his grossly deviant understanding, the 10th century view has greater veracity than the unequivocal Fatwa of prohibition of this illustrious Sahaabi who had given practical effect to his Fatwa with physical expulsion from the Musjid of the gang of bid’atis who sought to override the Sunnah of the Sahaabah with their newly innovated thikr majlis.
Furthermore, the Qur’aan and the Fatwa of Imaam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullah alayh) explicitly proclaim such audible / loud thikr gatherings to be haraam. Imaam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullah alayh) ruled that it is haraam to raise the voice in the Musjid with thikr and even with Tilaawat of the Qur’aan.
Despite many Ahaadith mentioning the virtues of Thikrullaah, there is not a single episode of loud thikr gatherings in the Musjid organized by any Sahaabah. While the akhtari khaanqah seeks daleel in the 10th century, the real Daleel for a practice is in the first century in the lives of the Sahaabah and in the rulings of the Aimmah Mujtahideen.

We have, Alhamdulillah, discussed and explained the issue of Thikrullaah in great detail in our book, Thikrullah in the Mirror of the Sunnah. Whoever is interested, may write for a copy. It is also available on our website.

It should also be understood that the type of thikr mentioned by Allaamah Sha’raani was free from all the khuraafaat which khaanqah akhtari, khaanqah zakariyya and the other mock khaanqahs of today have innovated. In fact, these mock khaanqahs are merrymaking, picnicking institutions which are guilty of perpetrating flagrant fisq and fujoor with their penchant for women. They despicably lure women out of their homes to participate in public programmes. They should hang their heads in shame!

Allaamah Sha’raani (Rahmatullah alayh) did not promote these modern-day khaanqah programmes. Whoever makes a study of his kutub will know the lofty degree of austerity, Zuhd and Taqwa which he propagated. There is not a single one of his teachings which can be found in khaanqah akhtari which specializes in feasting, merrymaking, entertainment and bid’ah programmes involving even women.

The akhtari khaanqah has also quoted selectively from Raddul Muhtaar. In the very same paragraph, Shaami mentions that raising the voice with thikr is haraam. Thus, it appears:

“Raising the voice with thikr: The statement of the Author of Al-Bazaaziyah is perplexing (confusing) on this issue. Sometimes he says that it is haraam, and sometimes he says that it is permissible.

Here are two separate issues: One – Raf’us saut, i.e. raising the voice when making thikr. Two – Public thikr gatherings. On the first issue (audible thikr), the rulings are widely divergent, vacillating between Haraam and Mustahab. There are different Ahaadith on this issue, hence the conflicting rulings of the Fuqaha. But this is not our topic of discussion in this article which is intended to refute the thikr gatherings of the akhtari khaanqah.

There is valid basis in the Hadith for audible thikr, i.e. pure thikr in general without innovated paraphernalia such as the form (hayt-e-kathaaiyyah) which constrained Hadhrat Ibn Mas’ood (Radhiyallahu anhu) to brand the group of thaakireen as ‘bid’atis’ and expel them from the Musjid. However, there is no basis for the type of public thikr gatherings innovated by khaanqah akhtari, khaanqah zakariyya and the other mock khaanqahs of this age.

The ‘istihbaab’ mentioned by Allaamah Sha’raani (Rahmatullah alayh) in this context does not mean Sunnah. There is no basis in the Sunnah for such public gatherings even of the pure ones devoid of bid’ah accretions which Allaamah Sha’raani describes as ‘mustahab’.

An act of the Sunnah can be Mustahab in the technical meaning of the term given to it by the Fuqaha. Acts which are technically Mustahab are all Sunnah acts. There is a basis in the Sunnah for it. However, even such Sunnah acts have to be abandoned when bid’ah practices and forms have become attached. The principle of Tarkus Sunnah (abandoning Sunnah) when it is bedevilled with bid’ah, is well known. The molvis of the khaanqahs despite being aware of this principle, deliberately innovate bid’ah activities which have absolutely no basis in the Sunnah. That is precisely why khaanqah akhtari scrounges for proof in the 10th century, instead of in the 1st century, and in substantiation of its bid’ah thikr majaalis produces Allaamah Sha’raani’s view in which there is no condonation for the bid’ah types of thikr gatherings which lure women into the public domain, and which spawn merrymaking and feasting, etc.

Istihbaab’ in the context mentioned by Allaamah Sha’raani does not refer to technical Mustahab which is also Sunnah. The term regarding the thikr sessions mentioned by Allaamah Sha’raani has a literal meaning, which simply means good, preferable, meritorious. The statement: “The Ulema of former and latter times have agreed that Zikrullah in the Masjid in a gathering and other places is Mustahab….”, is not borne out by the Sunnah. The ‘Ulema of latter times” mentioned here do not include the Sahaabah nor the Ulama, Fuqaha and Aimmah Mujtahideen of the Salafus Saaliheen era (Khairul Quroon). There is simply no substantiation for claiming that the ‘Salaf’ in the context of Allaamah Sha’raani’s statement also includes the Ulama of Khairul Quroon. If it had, khaanqah akhtari would not have contented itself with a 10th century view.

There is not a single incident of the Sahaabah having engaged in the kind of public/Musjid thikr majlis programmes. On the contrary, the episode of the illustrious Sahaabi, Hadhrat Ibn Mas’ood (Radhiyallahu anhu) expelling the new, bid’ah form of thikr majlis, unknown to the Sahaabah, is well known. The Sahaabah – all of them – were most vehement in their rejection of the slightest form of innovation in Ibaadat and in the Deen. It will serve the khaanqahs immense Deeni benefit if they would, instead of citing the belated, ambiguous view of the 10th century Allaamah Sha’raani (Rahmatullah alayh), to reflect on the attitude and action of Hadhrat Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood (Radhiyallahu anhu) to enable them to bring their errant khaanqahs in line with the Sunnah. However, since these bid’ati sheikhs do not discern any nafsaani glamour in the pure and simple practices of the Sunnah, they cling like leeches to bid’ah, and worse, they mislead the people into believing that their bid’ah is Sunnah, but for which they lack even a vestige of evidence.

The attempt to present bid’ah as Sunnah has also been predicted in the Hadith. Hadhrat Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood (Radhiyallahu anhu) narrated to a group of people (Sahaabah as well as Taabieen):

“How will you be when you are engulfed by such a fitnah which will render the elderly senile and the young ones old? The people will adopt the fitnah (bid’ah) as if it is Sunnah. If anything from it (the bid’ah) is omitted, they will say that a Sunnat has been deleted.” The people asked: “When will that happen?” He answered:

When your Ulama (the Ulama-e-Haqq) have departed (from the dunya); when your qaaris are in abundance; when your Fuqaha are few; when your rulers are numerous; when your trustworthy ones are few; when the dunya will be pursued with the amal of the Aakhirah, and when Knowledge (of the Deen) will be acquired for purposes other than the Deen.”

What has been predicted in this Hadith as well as in many other narrations is what is transpiring today. The Madaaris, the khaanqahs and the Deeni institutions such as the Tabligh Jamaat, are all pursuing nafsaani and worldly objectives under the deception of a ‘deeni’ veneer.

It should be understood that the target of our criticism is not Raf’us saut bith Thikr (audible thikrullaah). That is an entirely different topic which we have explained in detail in our book, Thikrullaah In The Mirror Of The Sunnah. However, for total lack of Shar’i evidence to substantiate their bid’aat and khuraafaat, the khaanqah miscreants seek to pull wool over the eyes of the ignorant and unwary with the audible thikr red herring. Since there is some scope for bolstering the argument in this regard, they create the erroneous idea of us propagating the view of the total prohibition of audible thikr, and of the thikr practices of the genuine Auliya of former times. But this idea is baseless.

The thrust of our criticism is directed to the forms of merrymaking, bid’ah programmes which these lifeless khaanqahs bereft of roohaaniyat (spirituality) are advertising in the same way as the modernist, deviant zanaadaqah are advertising their many baatil and haraam functions of fisq, fujoor, bid’ah and kufr, using the media for such haraam promotion. The life of a khaanqah is one of seclusion and privacy in which the spirit and ethos of Ghaar-e-Hira should be diffused. We advise the sheikhs of these modern ‘khaanqahs’ to study the kutub of the Auliya, e.g. Qasaul Auliya, Tadhkaratul Auliya, etc. Insha-Allah, they will gain considerable Islaahi advice and direction from such Mutaala-ah.

Allaamah Sha’raani (Rahmatullah alayh) was of the Shaafi’ Math-hab. Among the Shaafis there is some inclination to group forms of thikr. Thus, such thikr pertaining to Takbeer Tashreeq (The Eid Takbeers) is valid whereas it is bid’ah for the Ahnaaf, hence not permissible. Whereas this type of Thikr is valid for Shaafis and Hambalis even in the roads and in the bazaars on the occasion of Eid, it is not permissible for Hanafis. It is therefore, unbecoming and improper for the akhtari khaanqah to present the view of Allaamah Sha’raani (Rahmatullah alayh). Daleel should be presented from the Sahaabah and the Fuqaha of the Ahnaaf.

For Hanafi consumption, it is not permissible to proffer the view of the Shaafi Fuqaha for congregational and loud Thikr inside the Musjid pertaining to the Takbeer on the Day of Eid. The muqallid will be acting perfidiously if he resorts to this line of baseless argument in his abortive attempt to substantiate a practice which according to our Math-hab is bid’ah.

Furthermore, the congregational forms of Thikr of the Shaafis and Hambalis are not a basis for the merrymaking programmes which these miscreant khaanqahs organize. In the thikr majaalis of the Shaafis, the haraam activities of luring women from their homes, the feasting and merrymaking do not feature. Also, the audible thikr practice of the Auliya of our Chishti Silsilah pertain to individual thikr, not thikr in group form. Thus the Rafu’us Saut permitted by the genuine Khaanqahs of our Silsilah, has absolutely no resemblance to the group bid’ah which these wayward khaanqahs of today are practising. These are two widely different practices.

For direction in Ibaadat, it is not permissible to search for guidance in practices which even the Auliyaa had introduced ages and centuries after Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Collective/congregational forms of thikr as practiced by the deviated khaanqahs did not constitute part of the Ibaadat of Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and the Sahaabah. Is the example of Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) inadequate for us? By the implication of the innovations the khaanqahs of today, the Sunnah is indeed insufficient and needs to be ‘adorned’ and ‘improved’, and this is precisely the meaning of bid’ah dhalaalah (deviant innovation) which leads to the Fire. We again stress that the objection is not against Thikrullaah. Objection against Thikrullah is kufr. The objection is against the bid’ah forms of thikr.

Describing the reprehensibility of the bid’ah kind of congregational forms of thikr in the Musaajid, Tafseer Ruhul Ma’aani states:

“You will see numerous from the people of your age screaming in dua, specially in the Jawaami’ (public Musjids where the masses at large attend). So much so that there prevails much noise and the ears are deafened. However, they do not know that they have combined two bid’ahs – raising the voice in dua and doing that in the Musjid.”

Regarding the khaanqah type collective forms of loud thikr which have degenerated into Bid’ah, Hadhrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (Rahmatullah alayh) offers the following advice: “In their letters, even men who have a high degree of sincerity mention their constancy in Thikr (i.e. the prescribed forms of Thikr). They request for dua. It seems that to them islaah of the nafs is insignificant. They regard Thikr (khaanqah-type Thikr) and shaghl to be the actual aim (maqsood) to be pursued. On the contrary, Islaah is the true objective. Thikr facilitates the achievement of Islaah of the Nafs. – Malfoothaat

Criticizing the degeneration of the khaanqahs of this era, Hakimul Ummat states: “Our Haji Sahib (rahmatullah alayh) said: ‘A principle of the Mashaaikh of former times was the impartation of ta’leem to persons in accordance with their ability. For some, they devised domestic work, and on others they imposed some different type of activity. (It is not always these specific forms of Thikr). Now it has become the norm to instruct everyone with the Thikr of Ism-e-Zaat (Allaahu) 24,000 times, whether the poor soul survives or perishes. In fact, they do not even confine themselves to this form of Thikr. They dole out whatever comes to mind.”

“Even with regard to Dalaail-e-Khairaat, I draw the attention of my friends to the considerable time required to recite a lengthy manzil (chapter). Instead of this, the same amount of time should be spent rather reciting the Durood Shareef which the entire Ummah recites in Salaat. Furthermore, this Durood was prescribed by Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).” – Malfoothaat

On the issue of the lifeless, innovated forms of congregational and loud thikr programmes of the miscreant khaanqahs of the age, Hadhrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (Rahmatullah alayh) said:

“Sometimes when one suffers from spiritual ailments, e.g. ujub, takabbur, riya, etc., then abundance of athkaar and auraad (the type of non-Masnoon Thikr practices of the khaanqahs) worsens the diseases. The need is for mujaahadah (struggling against the nafs) so that one does not become the victim of show and pride after having rendered a good deed. Islaah (reformation) has priority over athkaar and auraad.

The Mutaqaddimeen Sufiya paid particular heed to moral reformation. However, nowadays people are not concerned with this essential requisite. Despite staying in the company of Mashaaikh and devoting time to Thikr and shaghl, moral reformation is not achieved. The spiritual diseases remain uncured. The mureed on seeing some dreams considers himself to be a wali. It should be well understood that the habit of sinning cannot co-exist with wilaayat (sainthood).

In every halqah (group) when customs become overwhelming, haqaaiq (truths and realties) are overshadowed. The Maqsood of Sulook (Tasawwuf) is not auraad and ashghaal. Although these acts facilitate the obtainal of the Maqsad, the objective is self-reformation. As long as moral reformation has not been achieved, the full efficacy of auraad and ashghaal will not be attained. In fact, sometimes, on account of ujub and kibr, these (khaanqah) auraad and ashghaal constitute dangers.” – Malfoothaat

“Alas! Nowadays people (i.e. the mashaaikh) are unaware of the Maqsood. Khilaafat (appointing a khalifah) no longer has a standard. What service (i.e. of guiding mureeds) can they render? In fact, they (these unqualified dumb khalifahs) come within the scope of the Hadith: “They are astray and they lead others astray.” On account of their fossilized minds, they lack discernment.”

“When Tasawwuf becomes corrupt, it is transformed into either insanity or hereticism (zindaqah). When a delicate object decomposes, its stench is intense.”

“The Mashaaikh generally instruct their mureeds to engage more in (certain forms of) Thikr than in tilaawat of the Qur’aan Majeed although tilaawat is superior. The reason for this is that in the initial stage the emphasis is on cultivating concentration. This is the special effect of Thikr.

The prescription of Thikr is in fact the preliminary step of tilaawat. When the ability of concentration has been acquired, the mureed will be able to recite the Qur’aan Majeed with perfection. The ultimate aim of Thikr is tilaawat of the Qur’aan Shareef. Once the necessary concentration has been developed, the mureed will engage more in tilaawat. What the unqualified spiritual guides do and teach, is beyond the scope of this discussion.”  – Malfoothaat

“The Mashaaikh of former times paid great attention to reformation of moral character. They underwent intense struggles and hardships to achieve this goal. Some worked for years in bathrooms; some spent years in the wilderness. During those times they did not pay much attention to (khaanqah-type) Thikr and shaghl. Their courage and resolve were great. They could bear the severest hardship. The Baarah Tasbeeh Thikr (the 12 prescribed tasbeehs – non-Sunnah) was considered to be very advanced while nowadays this is the elementary instruction issued to mureeds.”

The following is an extract from a lengthy Fatwa of Hadhrat Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (Rahmatullah alayh) regarding the bid’ah hait (form) fabricated by the deviant so-called ‘sufis; who have no understanding of Tasawwuf and its objectives:

It is mentioned in Aalamgheeriyah (Fataawa Hindiyyah): ‘The practice which is done after Salaat is Makrooh because the juhhaal (ignoramuses) will believe it to be Sunnat or even Waajib. Every Mubah (permissible practice) which leads to this is Makrooh. So is it reported in Az-Zaahidi.’

Thus, it is bid’at to make Thikr in this manner despite Thikr per se of Kalimah Tayyibah with jahr being permissible. However, at this occasion this hai’t is not proven from Quroon-e-Thalaathah. On the contrary, this is an occasion of Ikhfa’, hence it is bid’at. Furthermore, in this practice there is the danger of corrupting the Aqeedah (belief) of the masses. And Allah knows best.” – End of Hadhrat Gangohi’s dissertation. (Tazkiratur Rasheed)

The actual purpose of these bid’ah thikr gatherings in the Musaajid nowadays, is roping in the ignoramuses to become mureeds. This is a contemptible disease of the khaanqah sheikhs of our era. 

The corruption is intense among the sheikhs and their khalifahs in our day. Loud collective Thikr programmes are promoted. The sheikh goes on tours campaigning for collective Thikr performances in the Musaajid, and canvassing for mureeds. Indeed they are astray and mislead others as the Hadith says. Commenting on the despicable campaigning of the ‘sufis’ of this age, Hakimul Ummat said:

“In this age there exists the disease of canvassing for mureeds. A mureed strives to rope in others to become the disciples of his sheikh.”

Commenting on the bid’ah forms of thikr gatherings in the Musaajid, Hadhrat Maulana Mahmudul Hasan Gangohi (Rahmatullah alayh), whom the wayward, unqualified sheikhs of the mock khaanqahs love to quote, says in response to a question:

Question: There is a practice of reciting Durood Shareef jahran after Jumuah Namaaz and also in other neighbourhoods this practice is observed. Durood Shareef, Tasbeeh, Tahleel and Takbeer are recited in Ijtimaai (congregational) form, jahran (audibly). One Faadhil (Aalim) of Deoband explained to me that according to Shaami this practice is not bid’at. This person (the Deobandi Molvi) said by way of objection (i.e. objecting to the claim that it is bid’ah) that the Thikr which Naazim Saahib makes in Mazaahirul Uloom after Asr is a form and a time which he has himself fixed. Why is that not bid’ah? He also says that it has been the practice of the buzrugs of the recent past and now of their khulafa to gather their mureedeen in the Musjid to make Thikr-e-jali (audible Thikr). They instruct and exhort their mureedeen to do this. How is this?

(N.B  This is exactly the methodology of the venerable Mufti Radhaaul Haq Sahib’s argumentation. He has argued in similar style in support of loud collective Thikr in the Musaajid.)

Answering this question, Hadhrat Mufti Mahmudul Hasan Gangohi (rahmatullah alayh) states in his Fataawa:

“Durood Shareef in both ways – sirran and jahran – is permissible and a medium of spiritual progress and divine proximity. Reciting it (Durood Shareef) on Friday is specifically emphasised. But, to recite it jahran in Ijtimaai’ form (loud collective form) is not substantiated by the Hadith and Fiqh. The Sahaabah Kiraam would congregate five times a day in the Musjid. Besides the Salaat times, they found abundant opportunities to congregate in both safar (journey) and hadhr (i.e. not on a journey). But, nowhere is it proven that it was their ma’mool (practice) to recite ijtimaa-an jahran (collectively and loudly).

Even if one recites infiraadan (alone), then too when reciting audibly, it is necessary to refrain from disturbing anyone. For example, someone may be engaging in performing Salaat or he may be sleeping. Furthermore, there should be no (worldly or nafsaani) motive for reciting audibly. The motive should also  not be riya and aggrandizement. The greatest ibaadat is unacceptable if the niyyat is corrupt…………

If in some place there is a practice to recite a fixed number at specific times, then that will be the amal of the Mashaaikh. It will not be Hujjat e-Shar’iyyah (Proof of the Shariah). Following it is not incumbent. However, since the Mashaaikh were followers of the Shariah, their practice should be appropriately interpreted to avoid it being in conflict with the Shariah and within the confines of bid’ah. The interpretation for this is:

A doctor prescribes a fixed amount of medicine to be taken at fixed times by a patient. This is not a command or ibaadat. It is a remedy based on the experience of the practitioner. Anyone who does not follow this, is not sinful by Allah Ta’ala. If he follows the guidance of the practitioner, he will, Insha’Allah, be cured. The special form of Thikr in which there is a fixed amount and a specific form of dharb (striking head movements) is of this category. With changing conditions (of mureedeen), the form of this Thikr too changes. Sometimes, this jahr and dharb are completely abandoned. The condition of specific forms of khatam is the same.” (Fataawa Mahmudiyyah, Vol.15)

There is no difference of opinion among our Akaabireen on the issue of specific forms of thikr innovated in the Musaajid being Bid’ah. The crank sheikhs of these khaanqahs have made their bid’ah forms of congregational thikr the Maqsood of Tasawwuf. Their understanding in this regard is absolutely corrupt and portrays their incompetence for operating khaanqahs. All of them are person’a non grata according to the Shariah. They are themselves astray and mislead others.

These khaanqah programmes advertised so ostensibly are a disingenuous scheme for promoting nafsaaniyat and worldly objectives – “for gaining the dunya with the amal of the Aakhirat” as predicted by Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam).

Before ending this Naseehat, we urge all sincere seekers of the Haqq to study with an open mind and a heart desirous of gaining Allah’s Proximity, our book, THIKRULLAH IN THE MIRROR OF THE SUNNAH. This subject has been explained in detailed from every angle and all aspects have been elaborately presented.


The presentation of Allaamah Sha’raani’s statement as the basis for the bid’ah and baatil structure which the akhtari khaanqah has attempted to raise, is actually a red herring to divert attention from the Dalaa-il of the Shariah. Since the khaanqah personnel lack in entirety in valid Shar’i Daleel, they seek refuge in a saying of the 10th century Shaafi’ Allaamah Sha’raani (Rahmatullah alayh).

Even minus the many other Shar’i arguments which we have presented in this brief treatise, it will suffice to scale the issue of the khaanqah bid’ah on the view, statements and action of Hadhrat Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood (Radhiyallahu anhu). This very senior Sahaabi was so close to Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) that the senior Sahaabi, Hadhrat Musa Ash’ari (Radhiyallahu anhu) and others thought that he (Ibn Mas’ood) was a member of Nabi’s household. It was his beloved task to carry the sandals and the wudhu jug of Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam). On the night when Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) visited the abode of the Jinn to deliver the Deen to them, Hadhrat Ibn Mas’ood (Radhiyallahu anhu) had been with our Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam).

About Ibn Mas’ood (Radhiyallahu anhu), Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:    

* “If I had to appoint a Khalifah without consulting anyone, I would certainly appoint over them (the people) Abdallah Ibn Mas’ood.”

* “Acquire the Qur’aan from four (Sahaabah): Ibn Umm Abd (i.e. Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood. Of the four, the first one mentioned is Ibn Mas’ood)…….”

* “Whatever Ibn Mas’ood narrates to you, acknowledge it (as the truth).”

* “I am pleased for my Ummah with that with which Ibn Umm Abd is pleased.”

While the khaanqah, bereft of valid Shar’i evidence for their innovated practices, have presented the red herring of Allaamah Sha’raani’s statement, we proffer, among the array of our Dalaa-il, Hadhrat Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood (Radhiyallahu anhu) who strides the loftiest stations of Ilm, Taqwa and Divine Proximity heavens above Allaamah Sha’raani (Rahmatullah alayh). Whereas khaanqah akhtari has flaccidly cited the 10th Century statement which is not a Shar’i daleel, we present the Fatwa of Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood (Radhiyallahu anhu) who had practically implemented it by expelling the halqah thikr bid’atis from the Musjid.  

It should also be understood that Hadhrat Ibn Mas’ood (Radhiyallahu anhu) had expelled the group of halqah thikr bid’atis, not because they were engaging in Thikrullah. They were branded Bid’atis and expelled on account of the innovated form (hait) which they had fabricated and for which there was neither origin nor sanction in the Sunnah of Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and the Sahaabah.

As for Thikrullah, Hadhrat Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood (Radhiyallahu anhu) said: “The Majaalis of Thikr are the Revivers of Ilm and for creating humility in the heart.”

Now, whatever he meant by ‘Majaalis of Thikr’, it never refers to halqah thikr in the Musjid which has no origin in the Sunnah. It is quite obvious his branding those who had   engaged in halqah thikr in the Musjid as ‘bid’atis’, and had them expelled, negates any suggestion of permissibility for akhtari khaanqah-type bid’ah thikr in the Musjid.

Some molvis bent on promoting their bid’ah even venture the extremely corrupt notion of the Hadith of Ibn Mas’ood (Radhiyallahu anhu) being decrepit, weak and unfit for daleel. These molvis are in fact influenced by shaitaan to disgorge such ghutha. The illustrious Fuqaha of Islam have accorded the Hadith authenticity and have utilized it as their mustadal for prohibiting bid’ah forms of thikr.

We have published a complete booklet on the issue of the authenticity of this Hadith. Those interested, may write for copies. It is also available on our website:


Once Hadhrat Sufyaan Thauri (Rahmatullah alayh) sought naseehat from Hadhrat Fudhail Bin Iyaadh (Rahmatullah alayh). He offered the following naseehat:

“O Assembly of Ulama! What advice should I give you? Once you were Lanterns for the people and the cities dazzled with your Light. But now you have become complete darkness. Before, you were Stars (of Guidance). By means of you (Ulama), people would find the Path (leading them out of the) darkness of ignorance. But now you yourselves have become lost in confusion.

You go to the doors of the rulers. You sit on their carpets. You consume their food, and you accept gifts from them. Then you sit in the Musjid narrating Ahaadith from Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam). By Allah! Ilm is not acquired for these acts.”

Allaamah Sha’raani (Rahmatullah alayh), commenting on the above Naseehat, said: “It is narrated that on hearing this naseehat, Sufyaan Thauri lapsed into convulsive sobbing.”

We trust that the khaanqah molvis will ponder and derive lesson from this advice. It is of imperative importance for the khaanqah molvis to engage in an in-depth study of the kutub of Allaamah Sha’raani (Rahmatullah alayh) and of Hakimul Ummat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (Rahmatullah alayh) to gain a true understanding of Tasawwuf and its Maqaasid. These two Walis were Mujaddids in the sphere of Tasawwuf. The knowledge acquired from their kutub, if pursued with Ikhlaas, will enable the khalifahs to operate true khaanqahs for the Islaah of people. 

Presently, the khaanqah molvis are all astray and in conflict with both the Zaahiri and Baatini dimensions of the Shariah. Since they are vastly lacking in the understanding of Tasawwuf, they seek to remain in the khaanqah business with ostentatious bid’ah practices such as halqah thikr, public thikr, khatm-e-khwaajgaan, congregational recitation of Durood, congregational recitation of Yaaseen, jalsahs, mass i’tikaaf, feasting and merrymaking in general. These practices have no affinity with the Sunnah. Wird/ thikr practices introduced by the Auliya are spiritual remedies to be restricted to the privacy of the khaanqah, and not advertised and promoted as Sunnah or part of the Shariah or among the Objectives of Tasawwuf.

If they fail to set their houses in order, they will degenerate further and end up in the gutter and sewer rot as all the other bogus ‘sufi tariqas’ found today in West Africa, North Africa, India and the U.S. Men and women indulge in so-called dervish dancing and singing. The bid’ah, kufr and shirk are the fundamentals of these shaitaani ‘sufi’ tariqas. Understand well that any brand of tasawwuf which is in conflict with the Zaahiri Shariah is satanism. 

The khaanqahs in South Africa are slipping into the same cesspool of evil as the other bid’ati, shaitaani tariqas. So while they will be dubbing themselves as ‘akhtari’, ‘thanvi’, ‘chisti’, naqshabandi’, etc., they will in reality be Shaitaani.


Raf’ut Saut (raising the voice) is the fundamental and incumbent basis of all public thikr gatherings and programmes in the Musaajid innovated by the crank sheikhs of the mock khaanqahs. This fundamental requisite is in stark conflict with the Ijma’ (Consensus) of the Ummah. From the age of the Sahaabah there has always existed Ijma’ on the superiority of Thikr-e-Ikhfa, and on the Bid’ah of loud thikr. The confusion in this regard has developed centuries after the era of Khairul Quroon.

The following evidences will confirm the veracity of our claim and show that Allaamah Sha’raani (Rahmatullah alayh) despite his extremely lofty status, has erred in claiming consensus of the Salf and Khalf on thikr majaalis in the Musaajid. The only valid interpretation to sustain the claim of Allaamah Sha’raani (Rahmatullah alayh) is that by ‘thikr majaalis’ he was not referring to the heaving, swooning and deceptive displays of ecstacy of innovated thikr sessions of the sufis. He simply meant Muslims gathering in the Musaajid, sitting in Nafl I’tikaaf and individually engaging in their own thikr practices silently. Everyone recites silently on his own whether it be Tilaawat, Tahleel, Tasbeeh, Istighfaar, Dua, Nafl Salaat, etc. The Musaajid are the best abodes on earth, hence the imperative importance of Thikr Majaalis in the Musjid. But by Thikr Majaalis is never meant bid’ah practices which are in violation of the Shariah.

If it is argued that he did in fact refer to group form of audible thikr, then it will incumbently be set aside as an error. It is haraam to use the error of a senior even if he is the greatest authority of the age, to violate the Ijma’ of the Ummah. The view of the Aalim shall be set aside, not the established Law of the Shariah.     Confirming this fact, Allaamah Sha’raani (Rahmatullah alayh) said:

“Whoever adopts the obscure rarities of the Ulama, verily he has made his exit from Islam.”

The following is a summary of the Ijma’ on this issue – Ijma’ on the superiority of silent thikr, and Ijma’ on the bid’ah of loud thikr – the loudness which characterizes the ostentatious majaalis programmes of these deviated khaanqahs.

(1) “It is Makrooh to make dua during the month of Ramadhaan when making Khatam of the Qur’aan, as well as when a group makes khatam of the Qur’aan (i.e. at any other time). Faqeeh Abul Qaasim As-Sifaar (rahmatullah alayh) said: “If it was not for the fear that the people of this city would say: ‘He prevents us from dua’, then most assuredly, I would have prevented them from it.” (Al-Muheetul Burhaani)

The reference is to congregational dua after khatam of the Qur’aan Majeed has been made.

Al-Muheetul Burhaani is a voluminous kitaab (25 Volumes) occupying a very lofty pedestal in Hanafi Fiqh. It was compiled by the fifth century Imaam Burhaanuddeen Abil Ma-aali Mahmood (rahmatullah alayh). It is an elevated compilation consisting of the Masaa-il and their Dalaa-il of the Fuqaha-e-Mutaqaddimeen such as Imaam Abu Hanifah, Imaam Abu Yusuf, Imaam Muhammad (rahmatullah alayhim) and others.

While the Compiler is of the fifth Islamic century, the Masaa-il are those of the Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen and Fuqaha-e-Mutaqaddimeen of the first Islamic century. Nothing can supersede the Rulings of these Ulama belonging to the highest echelon of Fuqaha after the Sahaabah.

(2) “If the Muthakkir (the lecturer) on the mimbar recites Ma’thoor (Masnoon) duas, (audibly) and the people follow him in reciting these (Masnoon) duas, then if the purpose is to teach them (how to recite the duas), there is nothing wrong. However, if the purpose is not for the ta’leem of the people, then it is Makrooh, for verily, doing so is bid’ah.” (Al-Muheetul Burhaani)

The khutbah here does not refer to the Jumuah Khutbah. It refers to a lecture/bayaan.

(3) “Imaam Muhammad (rahmatullah alayh) narrated in As-Siyarul Kabeer from Imaam Hasan (rahmatullah alayh) that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) abhorred (regarded as Makrooh) raising the voice at the time of reciting the Qur’aan and at the time of the Janaazah.

Qais Ibn Ubaadah narrates that Ubaadah said: ‘Verily, the Ashaab of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) detested (regarded as Makrooh) raising the voice by the Janaa-iz and at the time of Thikr.’ In the Hadith of Hasan, instead of Thikr, the word, qiraa’t of the Qur’aan is used. There is no conflict between the two because, verily, the term Thikr includes dua, tasbeeh, tahleel, wa’z and qiraa’t of the Qur’aan. In fact, qiraa’t of the Qur’aan is the noblest of Athkaar. Allah Ta’ala says: ‘And, the Thikr of Allah is the Greatest.’” (Al-Muheetul Burhaani)

(4) “Verily, the Sunnah in duas is Ikhfa’”. (Al-Muheetul Burhaani)

(5) “If the meaning of raising the voice at the time of Thikr means dua, then most certainly is Makrooh, for verily, the Asal in duas is Ikhfa’, and also because in it (audibility) is riya (show/ostentation). Precisely for this is it Makrooh to raise the voice with tasbeeh and tahleel.”

And, if the meaning of the word Thikr (in this context) is wa’z (lecture), then it does not mean the raising of the voice of the waa-iz (lecturer). It will mean the raising of voices by the audience with tahleel, tasbeeh and durood when the lecturer mentions the name of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Verily, it has been authentically narrated that it was reported to Ibn Mas’ood (radhiyallahu anhu) that a group of people had gathered in the Musjid, and they were reciting tahleel and durood on Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) while raising their voices. Then Ibn Mas’ood (radhiyallahu anhu) went up to them and said: “We did not practise this during the time of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi  wasallam). I deem you to be mubtadieen (innovators).’ He continued repeating this until he expelled them from the Musjid.”

And if the meaning of the word, Thikr (in this context) is reciting the Qur’aan, then verily, it is Makrooh to raise the voice with qiraa’t.” (Al-Muheetul Burhaani)

(6) “Jahr with Takbeer is known by (the Nass of) the Shariah which is in conflict with the primary principle viz. ‘Verily, the Asal in athkaar and ad-iyyah (duas) is Ikhfa’.

(7) “It is narrated from Ash-Shaikh Imaam Faqeeh Abi Ja’far (rahmatullah alayh): ‘I heard that verily our (i.e. the Ahnaaf) Mashaaikh regarded Takbeer Tashreeq (i.e. its recitation audibly) in the market-places bid’ah. And Allah Subhaanahu wa Ta’ala knows best.” (Al-Burhaanul Muheet)

(8) Allaamah Kaasaani (rahmatullah alayh) records in his Badaaius Sanaai’: “According to Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh), raising the voice with takbeer is bid’ah, for verily it is a Thikr, and the primary principle in athkaar is Ikhfa’ by virtue of Allah’s qaul: “Call unto your Rabb with humility and in silence”, and by virtue of the qaul of Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam): “The best dua is the silent dua.”

Allaamah Alaauddeen Abu Bakr bin Mas’ood Kaasaani (rahmatullah alayh) was a Faqeeh of the fifth Islamic century.

(9) “Verily, jahr with takbeer is bid’ah.” (Hidaayah)

(10) “Ibn Humaam said: ‘The Asal in Athkaar is Ikhfa’ and jahr is bid’ah.” (Fathul Qadeer)

(11) “Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh) said: ‘Raising the voice with Thikr is bid’ah because it is in conflict with the qaul of Allah Ta’ala, viz., ‘Make the Thikr of your Rabb in your heart with humility and silence, and with a voice less than jahr.” (Al-Khulaasah)

(12) “The takbeer shall not be recited audibly. The reason for this being: “Verily, the Asal in Thikr is Ikhfa.’, on the basis of the qaul of Allah Ta’ala, viz., ‘Call unto your Rabb with humility and in silence’, and because of the qaul of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam): ‘The best Thikr is Thikr-e-Khafi.’………..Verily jahr is in conflict with the Asal (Principle of Imaam Abu Hanifah).” (Ghaayatul Bayaan)

(13) “Raising the voice with Thikr is haraam. Verily, it has been authentically reported that Ibn Mas’ood (radhiyallahu anhu) heard that a group of people had gathered in the Musjid……. (the same narration of innovators and their expulsion).” (Fataawa Qaadhi Khaan)

(14) “Jahr with takbeer is bid’ah at all times except on occasions of exceptions (made by the Shariah). And Qaadhi Khaan has categorically declared jahr with takbeer to be Makrooh, and the Author of Al-Musaffa has concurred (with him).” (Al-Bahrur Raai-q)

(15) “Tabari said: ‘In it (the Hadith) is the Karaahat of raising the voice with Thikr and dua. And this is what the generality of the Sahaabah and Taabieen say.’” (Irshaadus Saari of Qustulaani)

(16) “And according to what has been reported by As-Suyuti, Ibn Majah and Nisaai’ have also narrated this. This Hadith indicates that it is Makrooh to raise the voice with Thikr. Now even if it is not haraam, then at least it will not be less than Makrooh.” (Sabaahatul Fikr)

(17) “Imaam Maalik and his Ashaab said that all these acts (of jahr and congregation in the Musjid) are Makrooh because the Salaf (Sahaabah and Taabieen) did not practise these acts. (These practices are also Makrooh) so that the avenue and means for bid’ah remains closed to ensure that there be no excess in the Deen, and abandonment of the clear Haqq. Verily, that which Imaam Maalik and his companions had feared has assumed reality in our time.” (Sabaahatul Fikr)

(18) “In this Hadith is the indication for the permissibility of jahr without doubt although Ikhfa’ is afdhal.”  –  Shaikh Dahlawi in Sharhul Mishkaat. (Sabaahatul Fikr)

(19) “There is no doubt in the fact that Sirr (silence) is superior (afdhal) to jahr…….’ The Mustahab according to us (the Ahnaaf) is silence in  Athkaar.”  –  An-Nihaayah (Sabaahatul Fikr)

(20) “The Hadith: “The best Thikr is Khafi (silent Thikr)”, indicates the afdhaliyyat of silent Thikr, and there is no dispute in this fact.” (Sabaahatul Fikr)

(21) “When the people recite takbeer (audibly) after Salaat, verily, it is Makrooh and bid’ah. When they recite takbeer (audibly) in the Musaajid of the Ribaat when there is no fear (of the enemy), then it is Makrooh.”  (Fataawa Hindiyyah)

(22) Qur’aanic recitation is Mustahab only if one person recites after another person has recited, not collectively as the Egyptians and Syrians have innovated. (One person should recite while the others should listen. Then another person should recite, and the others should listen.). Verily, Ibnudh Dhiyaa’ from our Ulama has explicitly said that raising the voice in the Musjid even with Thikr is haraam.” (Irshaadus Saari – Manaasik Mulla Ali Qaari)

(23) The aayat of the Qur’aan (in Surah A’raaf) is Nass for Ikhfa’ being Mustahab. (Jaami’ Li Ahkaamil Qur’aan of Qurtibi)

(24) Silent Dua is afdhal. Thikr-e-Khafi is afdhal. (Ma-aariful Qur’aan)

(25) Thikr jahr is permissible, but Thikr Khafi is Aula. (Kifaayatul Mufti)

(26) Ikhfa’ in Dua is preferable (Mustahab). (Al-Mabsoot)

(27) “It has been deducted on the basis of this aayat that Ikhfa’ in Thikr is afdhal. The Hadith narrated by Imaam Ahmad supports this. (Ruhul Ma-aani)


The plethora of differences which has created a quagmire in which many Ulama flounder, unable to arrive at a conclusion, exist among the Ulama who came many centuries after the age of the Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen. The unequivocal and unanimous view of hurmat (prohibition) has cast the later Ulama into a quandary. In the endeavour to be extricated from the quagmire, a variety of interpretations has been produced. Most, if not all, of these interpretations only serve to complicate the quagmire.

Most of the interpretations are untenable, both rationally and irrationally (Aqlan wa Naqlan). Some interpretations, e.g. the assertion that Imaam Abu Hanifah’s principle refers to jahr-e-mufrit, are absolute drivel irrespective of who fabricated it.

There exists an incontrovertible consensus (Ijma’) on the afdhaliyyat (superiority) of Thikr-e-Khafi. Whoever has ventured a contrary opinion has failed to crack or dent the Consensus. The contrary opinion of the stragglers is pure opinion devoid of Shar’i substance.

All the Sufi Mashaaikh of the Four Silsilahs, despite their remedial and perculiar practices of jahr in their khaanqahs, are unanimous in upholding the afdhaliyyat of Jahr-e-Khafi.


It will be appropriate and very salubrious to apprize the khaanqahs of the view and fatwa of the Chief of all the Khaanqas of our Akaabir Chishti Mashaaikh. The following question was posed to Qutubul Aalam Hadhrat Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (rahmatullah alayh):

Question: “In Ramadhaan Shareef, in the Musjid during Taraaweeh Namaaz after performing four raka’ts, if all the musallis collectively recite Tasbeeh and make Dua, and with the niyyat of proclaiming the glory, grandeur and glitter of Islam, they recite the Kalimah ‘Laa ilaha illallaah’ with jahr (loudly), will this be permissible or not?”

Hadhrat Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi responded:

“To make Thikr in this manner after the jalsah (sitting) during the Taraaweeh has not been narrated from the Sahaabah and Taabieen. Therefore, this ha’it (specific form) is bid’at. It is mentioned in Al-Waaqiaat: ‘Reciting Surah Faatihah after the Fardh Salaat on occasions of events of upheaval (such as calamity, fear and disaster, etc.) is Makrooh (Tahrimi) because it is Bid’at in view of the fact that it has not been narrated from the Sahaabah and Taabieen.’

It is also stated in Bahrur Raa-iq that it has been narrated from Ibn Mas’ood (radhiyallahu anhu) that he heard a group of people had gathered in the Musjid and were reciting Lailaha illal laah and Durood on Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) audibly (jahran). Then he went to them and said: “During the age of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) we did not practise in this manner. I do not consider you except as mubtadieen (innovators).’ He continued saying so until he expelled them.”

On the basis of these two evidences, even though Thikr is mutlaqan jaa-iz, but to change a special form which had prevailed during Quroon-e-Thalaathah (the three noble eras of Islam) is bid’at. Hence, despite Kalimah Tayyibah being permissible jahran on its occasions of permissibility, but during the sitting of Taraaweeh this practice is not proven, hence to do so is bid’at. In addition the masses will think that this practice is Sunnat. A mubah (permissible practice) which the masses believe to be Sunnat is bid’at.

It is mentioned in Aalamgheeriyah (Fataawa Hindiyyah): ‘The practice which is done after Salaat is Makrooh because the juhhaal (ignoramuses) will believe it to be Sunnat or even Waajib. Every Mubah (permissible practice) which leads to this is Makrooh. So is it reported in Az-Zaahidi.’

Thus, it is bid’at to make Thikr in this manner despite Thikr per se of Kalimah Tayyibah with jahr being permissible. However, at this occasion this hai’t is not proven from Quroon-e-Thalaathah. On the contrary, this is an occasion of Ikhfa’, hence it is bid’at. Furthermore, in this practice there is the danger of corrupting the Aqeedah (belief) of the masses. And Allah knows best.”  –  End of Hadhrat Gangohi’s dissertation. (Tazkiratur Rasheed)

The Qur’aan Majeed says: “And, none takes lesson except the People of Intelligence.” From the aforementioned faqeehaanah (juridical and wise) exposition of Hadhrat Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (rahmatullah alayh), every unbiased, intelligent seeker of the Haqq will observe the following salient aspects which clinches the whole dispute in which the venerable Mufti Sahib has become mired:

(a) Despite Hadhrat Gangohi being a Khaanqah Shaikh, who engaged in khafeef (very light) Thikr bil Jahr, he unequivocally branded the specific form of collective loud Thikr as being bid’at.

(b) The collective loud Thikr is bid’at because this practice did not exist in the initial three noble eras of Islam.

(c) The validity of the Abstention argument is confirmed by Hadhrat Gangohi, namely, this practice did not exist in the Sunnah, hence it is bid’ah.

(d) The authenticity of the narration of Hadhrat Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood (radhiyallahu anhu) is vindicated. Hadhrat Gangohi did not argue away the act of Hadhrat Ibn Mas’ood (radhiyallahu anhu) with any of the defective interpretations which the votaries of bid’ah attribute to the said narration. On the contrary, he cited it from an authentic Kitaab of Fiqh, Bahrur Raa-iq, as evidence in refutation of bid’ah. Despite being a Chishti Shaikh practising Thikr bil Jahr in his Khaanqah, he upheld the Hadith of Ibn Mas’ood (radhiyallahu anhu), and did not lamely argue it away in order to justify and vindicate the practices of the khaanqah. He was a Man of Ilm and Taqwa. Hadhrat Gangohi (rahmatullah alayh) along with being an Aashiq and an Aarif Billaah, was a Faqeeh whose primary function was to guard the Shariah and the beliefs of the masses.

(e) When the masses see Ulama and Sulaha engaging in Thikr practices, they will naturally infer that such acts are Sunnat, and when they see the iltizaam with which these practices are observed by the Ulama, then they naturally and justifiably begin to believe that these acts of ‘ibaadat’ are Waajib.

(f) The principle of existence and non-existence of an ibaadat practice during Khairul Quroon is an important and a necessary determinant and criterion for all practices of Thikr which are executed in the full view of the masses. 

(g) Khaanqah practices should not be cited as a basis for justifying acts of Thikr which have no basis in the Sunnah.

(h) There is a stark difference in Thikr bil jahr conducted in the privacy of the khaanqah and in Thikr bil jahr collectively executed in public Musaajid frequented by the masses. While the former does not corrupt the beliefs of the masses nor develop into bid’ah in which the masses become entrapped, the latter undoubtedly corrupts the Aqeedah of the masses and develops into bid’ah.

(i) It is imperative that collective loud Thikr practices which were not in vogue during the era of the Noble Ages, not be advertised in public Musaajid. Any khaanqah practice should be confined to the four walls of the khaanqah or to private homes of the mureedeen who engage in such practices.



“After every Namaaz or after Fajr and Asr, all the Namaazis collectively and jahran (audibly) recite Lailaha illallaah. They furthermore, observe this practice with regularity whereas the Buzrugs did not order this practice for all and sundry. It is designed for only special persons. However, the juhala (ignoramuses) have made this practice universal (aam) and incumbent. It is for this reason that the Ulama have proclaimed this practice bid’ah. Now they accuse the Ulama of branding Thikrullah as bid’ah.

Although no one may be pleased with the Ulama (on account of their Amr Bil Ma’roof), the Muhaqqiq Sufiya are pleased with them. They appreciate the Ulama. Allaamah Sha’raani (rahmatullah alayh) who was a very great Muhaqqiq Sufi, said that the acts of the Sufiyah are extremely subtle (Daqeeq) which are beyond the comprehension of the masses. Hence, it is incumbent for the masses not to follow the Sufiyah in Uloom.

On the contrary, they should follow the Jamhoor Ulama because they (the Ulama) are the supervisors and administrators of the Shariah. In fact, the universe can remain in an orderly state only by following the Ulama………..These Ulama (of the Haqq) are the Guards who protect the Imaan of the masses. If they abandon their office, then the Sufi Sahib will have to abandon his cloister and execute this duty. Then all his tasawwuf, states and ecstasies will be forgotten.

The duty of Islaah-e-Khalq is Fardh Kifaayah. If the Molvies abandon this duty, then it will devolve on the Sufis. Therefore, O Sufi! You and your cloister will remain safe as long as this Guarding Jamaa’t (of Ulama-e-Haqq) subsists on earth. You sleep in comfort during the night. When your eyes open, you engage in namaaz and Thikr while the Ulama………….” End of Hadhrat Thaanvi’s exposition.

We hope and we make dua that this Naseehat of Hakeemul Ummat strikes a responsive chord in the hearts of those who are in search of the Truth – those who seek to emerge from the dark tunnel of confusion which the miscreant sheikhs of today’s commercial khaanqahs have created with their bid’ah thikr gatherings, feasting and merrymaking programmes.

“Upon us is to only deliver the Message” (Qur’aan)

Qalb-e-Saleem – A Sound Heart

– Mufti Ebrahim Desai Saheb

When a person undertakes a long journey, he ensures his mode of transport is safe. If he is traveling by motor vehicle, he will have it serviced. The oil will be replaced with new oil. The plugs will be changed. The lifespan of the brake pads and discs will be assessed. These are some of the very few things that need to be checked in a service of a motor vehicle. If a person does not service his motor vehicle, in all probability he will have a break down and suffer the consequences of his negligence.

We all are travelling to the hereafter. This is a long and arduous journey. The mode of our journey in the hereafter is qalb-e-saleem.

Ibrahim (Alayhis Salaam) made du`ā to Allāh Ta`ālā as follows:

وَلَا تُخْزِنِي يَوْمَ يُبْعَثُونَ، يَوْمَ لَا يَنْفَعُ مَالٌ وَلَا بَنُونَ، إِلَّا مَنْ أَتَى اللَّهَ بِقَلْبٍ سَلِيمٍ

And do not disgrace me on the Day they are [all] resurrected. The Day whereon neither wealth nor sons will avail, except him who comes to Allāh with a sound heart. [Al-Shu`arā’, 26: 87-89]

Qalb-e-Saleem is inculcated by servicing the heart with the following five qualities :

1. الذي لا يكون في قلبه عقائد باطلة

Remove incorrect beliefs and adopt correct beliefs.

2. الذي لا يكون في قلبه غلبة الشهوات:

Control the overpowering of carnal desires.

3. الذي ينفق ماله الي البر:

Spend one’s wealth in places of virtue.

4. الذي يرشد بنيه الي الحق:

Guide one’s children towards haq.

5. الذي لا يكون في قلبه غير الله:

Remove everything else from the heart besides Allāh.

Just as a car has to be serviced for a smooth and safe journey, the heart has to be serviced for a smooth and safe journey to the hereafter.

If we are stranded in our worldly journey, we could seek help through our worldly means: wealth, children, friends, AA, credit card, etc.

All these means will not be available in the journey to the hereafter. Everyone will have to fend for himself/herself. The only security is to create a sound heart in this world for the journey to the hereafter.

To service one’s car, one will refer to a mechanic. To service one’s heart, refer to the Ahlullāh and spiritual guides.


By Mujlisul Ulama

Once Hadhrat Maulana Rashid Ahmed Gangohi (Rahmatullah alayh) said: “No other sect/group has caused so much harm to the Deen as have the sufis (i.e. the jaahil, fake/fraud ‘sufis’). They have harmed the Deen by means of narration, beliefs, practices and concepts.

The spiritual power of Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was of such a lofty calibre that even the greatest kaafir who recited Laa ilaha il lallaah would attain the rank of Ihsaan (this is an extremely lofty state of Divine Proximity). In the next era of the Taabi-een, there was a reduction in the spiritual power, and in the following age there was a further reduction. 

Therefore, for achieving the elevated stage of spirituality, the   Auliya in the later eras introduced Mujaahadaat and Riyaadhaat practices which were regarded as mere ways and means of achieving the objective (Maqsood), which is Ihsaan. However, the further the early eras receded, the more practices were increased, and ultimately began to be considered as Maqaasid (objectives) whilst in reality these spiritual exercises were only the means for attaining the Maqsood.

The consequence of this development was the innovation of innumerable bid’aat (innovations) in the Deen pertaining to beliefs, practices and concepts. Although the   genuine Sufiya had combatted and reformed these innovations, the result was only a reduction in the bid’aat, not total eradication. Among the Muhaqqiqeen Sufiya who had been reformers were Shaikh Abdul Qaadir Jilaani, Shaikh Shuhaabuddin Suharwardi, Mujaddid Alf-e-Thaani and Sayyid Ahmad Shaheed (Rahmatullaah alayhim). Although these illustrious Sufiya had effected considerable reformation, total elimination of all the bid’aat was not achieved.

Allah Ta’ala had revealed to these illustrious Sufiya the Tareeq of the Sunnah. Alhamdulillaah, Allah Ta’ala has also opened up this Tareeq for me. A great barkat of the Sunnah Tareeq is that shaitaan finds extremely little scope for perpetrating dacoity.  While according to Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) the Maqsood is Ihsaan (Divine Proximity), the ignorant sufis considered Istighraaq (absorption in contemplation) to be the Maqsood.”

The Difference Between the Claim of divinity of Fir`awn & Mansoor ﺭﺣﻤﺔ ﺍﻟﻠﻪ ﻋﻠﻴﻪ

To combine two different matters is known as haml. For example, to combine Zaid (a person) and the word “standing”. Both are completely different from each another. The manner of combining both is that the action of standing is transferred into the existence of Zaid. In this way, both would be one and the same. The person standing would be Zaid and Zaid would be the one standing.

( ﺭَﺑُّﻜُﻢُ ﺍﻟْﺄَﻋْﻠَﻰٰ ) [Am (Your Rabb, the most high)] is a separate entity and ﺃﻧﺎ [I] is a separate entity. Fir`awn had combined both by making ﺭَﺑُّﻜُﻢُ ﺍﻟْﺄَﻋْﻠَﻰٰ part and parcel of ﺃَﻧَﺎ (himself), whereas this was absolutely incorrect. Therefore, Allah Ta`ala had punished him. Mansoor ﺭﺣﻤﺔ ﺍﻟﻠﻪ ﻋﻠﻴﻪ had also said ﺃﻧﺎ ﺍﻟﺤﻖ (I am Haqq i.e. Allah). However, this was totally different to what Fir`oun had said.

Fir`oun had completely incorporated ﺭَﺑُّﻜُﻢُ ﺍﻟْﺄَﻋْﻠَﻰٰ into ﺃﻧﺎ claiming divinity for himself, and Mansoor had annihilated ﺃﻧﺎ into ﺍﻟﺤﻖ regarding himself to be a nonentity and Allah Ta`ala to be everything. Therefore, he will not be taken to task.

[Statements & Anecdotes of Mufti Mahmud Hasan Gangohi ﺭﺣﻤﺔ ﺍﻟﻠﻪ ﻋﻠﻴﻪ, Malfudhat Faqih ul-Ummat, Vol. 1 pages 367]

Muhiyuddin ibn al-Arabi (rahimahullah) and his Aqeedah

Shaykh Muhyi al-Din Ibn ‘Arabi (d. 638)

Muhammad ibn ‘Ali ibn Muhammad ibn al-‘Arabi, Abu Bakr Muhyi al-Din al-Hatimi al-Ta’i al-Andalusi al-Mursi al-Dimashqi, known as Ibn ‘Arabi to differentiate him from Qadhi Abu Bakr Ibn al-‘Arabi the Maliki jurist. A scholar of Arabic let­ters at first, then tafsîr and tasawwuf, nicknamed al-Qushayri and Sultan al-‘Arifin in his time for his pre-eminence in tasawwuf, known in his lifetime for his de­voutness to worship, asceticism, and generosity, Ibn ‘Arabi was praised by al-Munawi as “a righteous friend of Allah and a faithful scholar of knowledge” (waliyyun sâlihun wa ‘âli­mun nâsih), by Ibn ‘Imad al-Hanbali as “the absolute mujta­hid without doubt,” and by al-Fayruzabadi as “the Imam of the People of Shari‘a  both in knowledge and in legacy, the educator of the People of the Way in practice and in knowl­edge, and the shaykh of the shaykhs of the People of Truth through spiritual experience (dhawq) and understand­ing.”

His Teachers

He travelled East and West in the study of hadith, taking knowledge from over a thousand shaykhs, among them Abu al-Hasan ibn Hudhayl, Muhammad ibn Khalaf al-Lakhmi, Ibn Zarqun, Abu al-Walid al-Hadrami, al-Silafi, ‘Abd al-Haqq al-Ishbili, Ibn ‘Asakir, Ibn al-Jawzi, and Ibn Bushku­wal. His principal shaykhs in tasawwuf  were Abu Madyan al-Maghribi, Jamal al-Din Yunus ibn Yahya al-Qassar, Abu ‘Abd Allah al-Tamimi al-Fasi, Abu al-Hasan ibn Jami‘, and al-Khidr (alayhis salaam).[2]  He became known first as al-Shaykh al-Kabir (“The Great Shaykh”) then al-Shaykh al-Akbar (“The Great­est Shaykh”) with specific reference to the sciences of tasaw­wuf in which he authored hun­dreds of books.[3]

His Doctrine (‘Aqîda)

His greatest and best-known work is his last, al-Futuhat al-Makkiyya (“The Meccan Conquests”) which begins with a statement of doctrine – translated in the present volume – about which al-Safadi said: “I saw that from beginning to end it consists in the doctrine of Abu al-Hasan al-Ash‘ari without any difference whatso­ever.”[4]

His Rank of Mujtahid Mutlaq

In jurisprudence Ibn ‘Arabi is often said to follow the Zahiri school, but this is incorrect since he himself denies it, as quoted by Ibn ‘Imad from Ibn ‘Arabi’s two poems al-Ra’iyya and al-Nuniyya, which state respectively:

        Laqad harrama al-Rahmânu taqlîda Mâlikin

            wa Ahmada wa al-Nu‘mani wa al-kulli fa‘dhurû

    The Merciful forbade me to imitate Malik, Ahmad,

Al-Nu‘man [Abu Hanifa] and others, therefore pardon me.

 Lastu mimman yaqûlu qâla Ibnu Hazmin

lâ wa lâ Ahmadu wa la al-Nu‘mânu

I am not of those who say: “Ibn Hazm said”—

Certainly not! Nor “Ahmad said” nor “al-Nu‘man said.”[5]

The Controversy Surrounding Him

The name of Ibn ‘Arabi remains associated with contro­versy because of those who criticized him severely for the work attributed to him under the title Fusûs al-Hikam (“The Pre­cious Stones of the Wisdoms”). The attribution of this work in its present form to Ibn ‘Arabi is undoubtedly incor­rect as the Fusûs contradicts some of the most basic tenets of Islam expounded by Ibn ‘Arabi himself in his authen­tic works, such as the finality of Prophethood, the primacy of Prophets over non-Prophets, the abrogation of all religious creeds other than Islam, the everlastingness of the punish­ment of Hellfire and its dwellers, the abiding therein of anyone that does not accept the Prophet after his coming, Pharaoh’s damna­tion, etc. Nevertheless the Fusûs have re­ceived commen­taries by the following scholars among others: Sadr al-Din al-Qunawi (d. 671), ‘Afif al-Din al-Tilim­sani (d. 690), Mu’ayyid al-Din al-Jundi (d. 700), Sa‘d al-Din al-Farghani (d. 700), Kamal al-Din al-Zamalkani (d. 727), Dawud al-Qaysari (d. 751), Kamal al-Din al-Qashani (d. 751), Sayyid ‘Ali al-Hamadani (d. 766), Khwaja Muham­mad Parsa (d. 822) the intimate friend of Shah Naqshband, Mawlana Jami (d. 898), Isma‘il al-Anqa­rawi (d. 1042), ‘Abd al-Ghani al-Nabulusi (d. 1144), and others.

Al-Suyuti’s Response to al-Biqa‘i

In response to an attack by Burhan al-Din al-Biqa‘i (d. 885) entitled Tanbih al-Ghabi ila Takfir Ibn ‘Arabi wa Tahdhir al-‘Ibad min Ahl al-‘Inad (“Warning to the Ignoramus Concerning the Declaration of Ibn ‘Arabi’s Disbelief, and Cautioning the Servants of Allah Against Stub­born People”) Sayyid ‘Ali ibn Maymun al-Maghribi (d. 917) wrote a fatwa entitledTanbih al-Ghabi fi Tanzih Ibn ‘Arabi (“Warning to the Ignoramus Concerning Ibn ‘Arabi’s Vindication”). Al-Suyuti wrote a fatwa with the same title, in which he stated:

The scholars past and present have differed concerning Ibn ‘Arabi, one group considering him a friend of Allah (walî) – and they are correct – such as Ibn ‘Ata’ Allah al-Sakandari and ‘Afif al-Din al-Yafi‘i, another considering him a heretic – such as a large number of the jurists – while others expressed doubts concerning him, among them al-Dhahabi in al-Mizan. Two opposed verdicts are reported from Shaykh ‘Izz al-Din ibn ‘Abd al-Salam, one attacking him, and one describing him as the Spiritual Pole (al-qutb). What reconciles them is indicated by Shaykh Taj al-Din ibn ‘Ata’ Allah in Lata’if al-Minan [fi Manaqib Abi al-‘Abbas al-Mursi wa Shaykhihi Abi al-Hasan al-Shadhili], namely, that Shaykh ‘Izz al-Din at the beginning acted in the fashion of jurists in passing quick judgment on the Sufis. When Shaykh Abu al-Hasan al-Shadhili went to pilgrimage and returned, he came to Shaykh ‘Izz al-Din before entering his own house and con­veyed to him the Prophet’s (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) greeting. After that, Shaykh ‘Izz al-Din humbled himself and began to sit in al-Shadhili’s gatherings….[6] Our shaykh, Shaykh al-Islam, the last remnant of the mujtahids, Sharaf al-Din al-Munawi replied, concerning Ibn ‘Arabi, that silence was safest. And this is the stance that befits every truly God­-wary person who fears for himself. For me, the last word concerning Ibn ‘Arabi – and this is accepted neither by his contemporary admirers nor by his detractors – is that he be considered a walî, but reading his books is forbidden.[7]

Whatever is transmitted and attributed to the [Sufi] Shaykhs – may Allah be well pleased with them – if it contradicts external knowl­edge, bears various possibili­ties:

First, we do not concede its attribu­tion to them until it is estab­lished as authentic.

Second, after authentic­ity is established, it may have a figurative meaning; if not, then one should say: “Perhaps it has a figurative meaning for the people of internal knowledge and the knowers of Allah Almighty.”

Third, this may have come from them in a state of intoxication and distraction, and the lawfully intoxicated person is not taken to task as he is not held responsible in such a state.

Holding a bad opinion about them after all these resolutions is a sign of deprivement of success. We seek refuge in Allah from failure and a terrible verdict, and from all evils![8]

Ibn ‘Arabi’s Admirers

Al-Suyuti’s attitude and what he reports from al-Munawi is echoed by Imam al-Safadi who said of Ibn ‘Arabi: “He was a very great man, and whatever can be under­stood from his words is excellent and upright; as for what we find difficult, we leave its matter to Allah, for we were not tasked with following him nor with doing all that he said.”[9] Similarly al-Qari admitted in one of his fatwas against Ibn ‘Arabi and his works: “The safest course in Religion concerning the person of Ibn ‘Arabi is silence, as the scholars differed about him.”[10]

The hadith master Ibn al-Najjar (d. 643) wrote a long notice on him in his biographical history in which he said: “I met him in Damascus and copied some of his poetry. What a wonderful shaykh he was!”[11] Among the famous authorities who held a good opinion of Ibn ‘Arabi are the following:

· The Qur’anic commentator and jurist Imam al-Baydawi who called him “the Imam of Verification in reality and outwardly”;

· The Qur’anic commentator Abu al-Su‘ud;

· Imam al-Safadi, the author of al-Wafi bi al-Wafayat;[12]

· Zayn al-Din al-Khafi al-Akbar Abadi;[13]

· The hadith master al-Sakhawi who chronicled al-Biqa‘i’s fitna in his Ahsan al-Masa‘i fi Idah Hawadith al-Biqa‘i and went on to write al-Qawl al-Munabbi ‘an Tarjima Ibn ‘Arabi which he summarized in al-Kifaya fi Tariq al-Hidaya. He also authored another book titled Tajrid Asma’ al-Akhidhin ‘an Ibn ‘Arabi in which he listed all the scholars who borrowed material from the Shaykh.[14]

· Al-Adnahwi (11th c.) who called him in his Tabaqat al-Mufassirin “the Peerless Shaykh in his Time.”a

· Ibn ‘Imad al-Hanbali who called him “the Great Knower of Allah” (al-‘ârif al-kabîr);[15]

· Kamal al-Din ‘Abd al-Wahid ibn ‘Abd al-Karim Ibn al-Zamalkani al-Dimashqi (d. 651) who called him “the Ocean re­plete with all kinds of divine knowledges”;

· Safi al-Din al-Azdi al-Ansari in his epistle on the scholars of his time;

· Shaykh Jalal al-Din al-Dawani (d. 907);[16]

· Majd al-Din al-Shirazi al-Siddiqi in his fatwa entitled al-Ightibat bi Mu‘alaja Ibn al-Khayyat;[17]

· Al-Sayyid al-Jurjani whose Ta‘rifat in­cludes Ibn ‘Arabi’s termino­logies;

· The renowned lexicographer, hadith scholar and jurist al-Fayruzabadi who in his commentary on al-Bukhari’s Sahih often quotes Ibn ‘Arabi’s ex­planations;

· Imam al-Yafi‘i who called him in his Tarikh “the Paragon of the Friends of Allah in knowledge and fiqh out­wardly and inwardly”;

· The lexicographer and hadith master Murtada al-Zabidi who often cites Ibn ‘Arabi in his commentary on al-Ghazzali’s  Ihya’ entitled Ithaf al-Sada al-Muttaqin.

· Qadi al-Qudat Shams al-Din al-Bisati al-Maliki who opposed before the Sultan – in Ibn Hajar’s presence – ‘Ala’ al-Din al-Bukhari’s verdict of takfîr of Ibn ‘Arabi and whoever accepted him;[18]

· Shaykh al-Islam Siraj al-Din al-Makhzumi who said: “Our shaykh,Shaykh al-Islam Siraj al-Din al-Bulqini and likewise Shaykh Taqi al-Din al-Subki used to criti­cize the Shaykh in the beginning, then they changed their position after they realized what he was saying and the explanation of his intent.”[19]

· Al-Bulqini who was reported by his student al-Makhzumi as saying: “We seek refuge in Allah from say­ing that he [Ibn ‘Arabi] asserts indwelling (hulûl) or communion-with-the-divine (ittihâd)! He is far above that. Rather, he is one of the greatest imams and among those who have probed the oceans of the sciences of the Book and the Sunna.”[20]

· Shaykh al-Islam Zakariyya al-Ansari in the chapter on apostasy in his book Sharh Kitab al-Rawd fi al-Fiqh wa al-Fatwa;[21]

· Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Hajar al-Haytami in his Fatawa Hadithiyya;

· Imam Shams al-Din Muhammad al-Bakri;

· The hadith master and Qur’anic commentator Shaykh Isma‘il Haqqi in his book al-Khitab;

· Imam Muhammad Ibn ‘Abidin, the foremost authority in the late Hanafi school;[22]

· The Ottoman writer Katib Çelebi who devoted a chapter on Ibn ‘Arabi in his book Mizan al-Haqq fi Ikhtyar al-Ahaqq;

· Shaykh Mulla al-Jami in Nafahat al-Uns;

· The hadith master of Damascus and Renewer of the Fourteenth Islamic century, Shaykh Badr al-Din al-Hasani;[23]

· The Wahhabi supporter, student of al-Shawkani, scho­larly nawab of Bhopal and author of Abjad al-‘Ulum Siddiq Hasan Khan al-Qinnawji in the third chapter of his Takhrij al-Wasaya which he titled: “Concerning the Instructions of One of the Pure People of Excel­lence Com­monly Named ‘Sufis’ – Allah Grant Us and All of Them Mercy Through the Immense Honor of the Master of Messengers e (bijâh sayyid al-mursalîn)” The chapter then begins: “The most sublime shaykh and knower of Allah (al-shaykh al-ajall al-‘ârif billâhi ta‘âlâ) said in al-Futuhat al-Makkiyya…” Al-Qinnawji then goes on to cite Ibn ‘Arabi for over forty pages.[24]

· Sayyid Jamal al-Din al-Qasimi in his Qawa‘id al-Tahdith;[25]

· Imam Muhammad Zahid al-Kawthari in his Maqalat.[26]

· Muhammad ‘Abduh calls him al-Shaykh al-Akbar;b

 · Shaykh al-Islam al-Munawi who cited him over two hundred times inFayd al-Qadir and elsewhere declared:

A group of scholars professed suspension of judgment and benefit of good opinion (al-taslîm)… their Imam being Shaykh al-Islam al-Nawawi who replied, when asked about Ibn ‘Arabi: (Those are a people who have passed away. Theirs is that which they earned, and yours is that which you earn. And you will not be asked of what they used to do) (2:134). [Ahmad] Zarruq reported from his shaykh al-Nuri the words: “They differed about him from the verdict of disbelief to that of spiritual primacy (qutbâniyya); giving the benefit of good opin­ion is therefore an obligation.”[27]

Wahda al-Wujûd or Oneness of Being

Perhaps the most famous misrepresentation of the Shaykh that resulted from the Fusûs is the attribution to him of the doctrine of “one­ness of being” (wahda al-wujûd) in the pan­the­istic sense of the im­manence of the Deity in everything that exists. Al-Qari cites, for example, a verse of poetry which he references to the Fusûs, stating:

Subhâna man azhara al-ashyâ’a wa huwa ‘aynuhâ

Glory to Him Who caused things to appear

and is those very things![28]

This attribution and others of its type are evidently spurious and Ibn ‘Arabi’s ‘Aqida flatly contradicts them. Fur­thermore, verifying scholars such as Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi in his epistles, Shaykh ‘Abd al-Ghani al-Nabulusi in al-Radd al-Matin ‘ala Muntaqid al-‘Arif Billah Muhyi al-Din and Idah al-Maqsud min Wahda al-Wujud, and al-Sha‘rani in al-Yawaqit wa al-Jawahir and Tanbih al-Aghbiya’ ‘ala Qatratin min Bahri ‘Ulum al-Awliya have re­phrased Ibn ‘Arabi’s ex­pression of “one­ness of being”(wahda al-wujûd) as “one­ness of per­ception” (wahda al-shuhûd) in the sense in which the Prophet  (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) defined excel­lence (ihsân) as “worshipping Allah as if you see Him.”[29] And to see Him is to see nothing else. This is what is meant in such ex­pressions as the question uttered again and again by the late Shaykh ‘Abd al-Hamid Kishk: “Allah is my Lord! Is there in all existence any but He?”  (Allâhu rabbî! Hal fi al-wujûdi siwâh?) or apho­rism 133 of Ibn ‘Ata’ Allah: “The universes are affirmed by His affirmation of them and they are erased by the unicity of His Essence” (al-akwânu thâbitatun bi ithbâtihi wa mamhuw­watun bi ahadiyyati dhâtihi). Shaykh ‘Abd al-Hadi Kharsa explained:

Those who have come to know Allah Ithrough His own self-disclosure to them(ta‘rîf Allâhi lahum) – they did not come to know Him via their minds – have known him with the light which Allah I imparted to their hearts and minds. This light then reflected itself upon all things. Then they saw that all things subsist in Allah, and they wit­nessed the Onenesse of Allah I in all those created aspects despite their multiplicity. For these aspects have no autonomy of existence. Their subsistence is only through the divine Sustainment (qayyûmiyya) and their affirmation is through the Support (imdâd) of Allah. [Allah chooses for Himself whom He will, and guides unto Himself him who turns (toward Him)] (42:13). The people of turning to Allah (ahl al-inâba) Allah guides unto Himself. The people of His choice (ahl al-ijtibâ’) are those whom He especially purifies (istafâhum). [And peace be on His slaves whom He has chosen]  (27:59). O Allah, let us be of them and with them! Aamin.[30]

Al-Nabulusi said in his Diwan:

Beware of witnessing any other [Causator] than Him!

[Of this] cease your concern.

There is neither “you” nor “I” in this existence.

Verily, Existence is the True through Whom we appear

And through Whom we return to extinction.

When we return through Him, it is as if we never were

And when we appear through Him, yet He appears without our help.

O child of contingencies! Do not think yourself

—for you certainly are not—the One without beginning

Even if He caused you to appear and took care of you!

Truly, indwelling is the delusion of the ignoramus

Whose favorite occupation is finding fault

With the discourse of the people of Allah.

I never heard nor shall I ever hear a sane and reasonable person

Declare that the Real inhabits a contingent being!

Now, if some texts actually said this, they said it

Only on the firmly-established basis of the Prophet’s pact.[31]

Dr. Sa‘id al-Buti said:

What is the meaning of the expression “one­ness of perception”? When I interact with causes with full respect to the ways of Allah, His orders, and His Law, knowing that the sustenance that comes to me is from Allah; the felicity that enters my home is from Allah Almighty; my food is readied for me by Allah – I mean even the smallest details; the wealth with which I have been graced, comes from Allah; the ill­ness that has been put in my being or that of a relative of mine comes from Allah Almighty; the cure that followed it is from Allah Almighty; my success in my studies is by Allah Almighty’s grant; the results which I have attained after obtaining my degrees and so forth, are from Allah Almighty’s grant – when the effi­cacy of causes melts away in my sight and I no longer see, behind them, other than the Causator Who is Allah Almighty: at that time, when you look right, you do not see except the Attributes of Allah, and when you look left, you do not see other than the Attributes of Allah. As much as you evolve in the world of causes, you do not see, through them, other than the Causator, Who is Allah. At that time you have become raised to what the spiritual masters have called oneness of perception. And this oneness of percep­tion is what the Messenger of Allah rexpressed by the word ihsân [which he defined to mean]: “That you worship Allah as if you see him.” You do not see the causes as a bar­rier between you and Allah. Rather, you see causes, in the context of this doctrine, very much like pure, trans­parent glass: the glass pane is present – no one denies it – but as much as you stare at it, you do not see anything except what is behind it. Is it not so? You only see what is behind it. The world is entirely made of glass panes in this fashion. You see in them the efficacy of Allah in perma­nence, so you are always with Allah Al­mighty. None has tasted the sweetness of belief unless he has reached that level of perception.[32]

Ibn Taymiyya’s Unreliability

Ibn Taymiyya is quoted in his Fatawa as being asked re­peatedly about “the verdict of Islam concerning Ibn ‘Arabi who asserted Oneness of Being,” and other similar questions. However, it seems that Ibn Taymiyya did not review the Shaykh’s huge  Futuhat in its totality when he answered these questions. At times, his discussions about Ibn ‘Arabi depend, as he puts it, on “whether these are his actual words” while at other times he attacks him outright on the basis of these unverified assumptions, or himself levels specific accusations against the Shaykh. Muhammad Ghurab – a contemporary autho­rity on Ibn ‘Arabi’s works – in a book pub­lished in the 1980s by Dar al-Fikr in Damascus, states having read the Futuhatseveral times from cover to cover without finding the expressions for which Ibn Taymiyya took the Shaykh to task while citing this work. The late scholar of Damascus Shaykh Mahmud al-Rankusi similarly affirmed that Ibn Taymiyya an­swered questions about Ibn ‘Arabi without con­firming them against his actual writings, and that the sharp temper of the former further complicated his attitude towards the Shaykh. On the basis of these opinions and in the light of Ibn Taymiyya’s occasional reservations and his otherwise apparently correct approach to ambiguous expres­sions, it seems that the misquotations of Ibn ‘Arabi became so numerous in Ibn Taymiyya’s time that it became incon­ceivable to him that they were all incorrect, whereupon he treated them as facts. The errors causing these misquota­tions can also be inferred from the fact that since the misquota­tions revolved around issues of doctrine – in which misunderstand­ings are fraught with grave dangers – and in light of the Shaykh’s complex style and obscure expressions, queries would be commonly sent to muftis con­cer­ning what some people thought they had read, without actually citing nor understanding the expressions in ques­tion. All this could have been avoided by the due observance of faithfulness (amâna) in textual citation, as the early scholars insisted with reference to hadith transmission. Yet many later scholars, be­ginning with Ibn Taymiyya and after him, relied on second and third-hand paraphrases and attributions, endorsing the accusa­tions against Ibn ‘Arabi and even generalizing them so as to target all tasawwuf. Finally, Ibn Taymiyya in his letter to al-Munayji actually states his admiration for the Futuhat and reserves his criticism only for the Fusûs![33]

Other Critics of Ibn ‘Arabi

Among the scholars claimed by al-Qari as condemning Ibn ‘Arabi as an innovator or even an outright heretic (zindîq) and disbeliever because of Fusûs al-Hikam: Ibn ‘Abd al-Salam, al-Jazari, Sharaf al-Din ibn al-Muqri, Abu Hayyan al-Andalusi, Sa‘d al-Din al-Taftazani,[34] Jamal al-Din Muham­mad ibn Nur al-Din,[35] Siraj al-Din al-Bulqini who suppos­edly ordered his books burnt,[36] Burhan al-Din al-Biqa‘i, Ibn Taymiyya,[37] and his student al-Dhahabi who said:

He may well have been one of the Friends of Allah Whom He strongly attracted to Himself upon death and for whom He sealed a good ending. As for his words, who­ever understands them, recognizes them to be based on communion-with-the-divine (ittihâdiyya), knowing the deviation of those people and comprehending theirs ex­pressions: the truth will be apparent to him as against what they say.[38]

The Hanafi shaykh ‘Ala’ al-Din al-Bukhari, like Ibn al-Muqri, went so far as to declare anyone who did not declare Ibn ‘Arabi a disbeliever to be himself a disbeliever. This is the same ‘Ala’ al-Din al-Bukhari who said that anyone that gives Ibn Taymiyya the title Shaykh al-Islam is a disbe­liever.

Al-Haytami’s Response

Al-Haytami said in his Fatawa Hadithiyya:

Our shaykh [Zakariyya al-Ansari] said in Sharh al-Rawd… in response to Ibn al-Muqri’s statement: “Whoever doubts in the disbelief (kufr) of Ibn ‘Arabi’s group, he himself is a disbeliever”:

The truth is that Ibn ‘Arabi and his group are the elite of the Umma. Al-Yafi‘i, Ibn ‘Ata’ Allah and others have declared that they considered Ibn ‘Arabi a walî, noting that the language which Sufis use is appropri­ate among the experts in its usage and that the knower of Allah (‘ârif), when he becomes completely ab­sorbed in the oceans of Unity, might make some statements that are liable to be misconstrued as indwelling (hulûl) and union (ittihâd), while in reality there is neither indwelling nor union.

It has been clearly stated by our Imams, such as al-Rafi‘i in his book al-‘Aziz, al-Nawawi in al-Rawda and al-Majmu‘, and others:

When a mufti is asked about a certain phrase that could be construed as disbelief, he should not immediately say that the speaker should be put to death nor immediately make permissible the shed­ding of his blood. Rather, let him say: The speaker must be asked about what he meant by his statement, and he should hear his explanation, then act accordingly.[39]

Look at these guidelines – may Allah guide you! – and you will find that the deniers who assault this great man (Ibn ‘Arabi) and posi­tively assert his disbelief, are riding upon blind mounts, and stumbling about like a camel affected with troubled vision. Verily Allah has blocked their sight and hearing from perceiving this, until they fell into whatever they fell into, which caused them to be despised, and made their knowledge of no benefit. The great knowledge of the Sufis and their utter renunciation of this world and of everything other than Allah testify to their inno­cence from these terrible accusations, therefore we prefer to dismiss such accusa­tions and consider that their statements are true realities in the way they expressed them. Their way cannot be denied without knowing the meaning of their statements and the expressions they use, and then turning to apply the expression to the meaning and see if they match or not. We thank Allah that all of their deniers are ignorant in that kind of knowledge, as not one of them has mastered the sciences of unveilings (mukâshafât), nor even smelled them from a distance! Nor has anyone of them sincerely fol­lowed any of the awliyâ’ so as to master their terminol­ogy.

You may object: “I disagree that their expressions refer to a reality rather than being metaphorical phrases, therefore show me something clearer than the explana­tions that have been given.” I say: Rejection is stubbor­ness. Let us assume that you disagree with what I have mentioned, but the correct way of stating the objection is to say: “This statement could be interpreted in several ways,” and proceed to explain them. You should not say: “If it meant this, then… and if it meant that, then…” while stating from the start “This is kufr”! That is ignorance and goes beyond the scope of sincere faithfulness  (nasîha) claimed by the critic.

Do you not see that if Ibn al-Muqri’s real motivation were good advice, he would not have exagger­ated by saying: “Whoever has a doubt in the disbelief of the group of Ibn ‘Arabi, he himself is a disbeliever”? So he extended his judgment that Ibn ‘Arabi’s followers were disbelievers,  to everyone who had a doubt as to their dis­belief. Look at this fanaticism that exceeds all bounds and departs from the consensus of the Imams, and goes so far as to accuse anyone who doubts their disbelief.  (Glori­fied are You, this is awful calumny!) (24:16) (When you welcomed it with your tongues, and uttered with your mouths that whereof you had no knowledge, you counted it a trifle. In the sight of Allah, it is very great) (24:15).

Notice also that his statement suggests that it is an obligation on the whole Community to believe that Ibn ‘Arabi and his followers are disbelievers, otherwise they will all be declared disbelievers – and no one thinks likes this. As a matter of fact, it might well lead into something forbidden which he himself has stated clearly in his book al-Rawd when he said: “Whoever accuses a Muslim of being a disbeliever based on a sin committed by him, and without an attempt to interpret it favorably, he himself commits disbelief.” Yet here he is accusing an entire group of Muslims of disbelief.[40] Moreover, no con­si­deration should be paid to his interpretation, because he only gives the kind of interpretation that is detrimental to those he is criti­cizing, for that is all that their words have impressed upon him.

As for those who do not think of Ibn ‘Arabi and the Sufis except as a pure light in front of them, and believe in their sainthood – how can a Muslim attack them by accus­ing them of disbe­lief? No one would dare do so un­less he is accepting the possibility to be himself called a disbe­liever. This judgment reflects a great deal of fanati­cism, and an assault on most of the Muslims. We ask Allah, through His Mercy, to forgive the one who uttered it.

It has been narrated through more than one source and has be­come well-known to everyone that whoever opposes the Sufis, Allah will not make His Knowledge be­ne­ficial, and he will be inflicted with the worst and ugliest diseases. We have witnessed this taking place with many naysayers. For example, al-Biqa‘i – may Allah for­give him! – used to be one of the most distinguished scholars, blessed with many meritorious acts of worship, an excep­tional intelligence, and an excel­lent memory in all kinds of knowledge, especially in the sciences of tafsîr and hadith, and he wrote numerous books, but Allah did not allow them to be of any kind of benefit to anyone. He also authored a book called  Munasabat al-Qur’an in about ten volumes, about which no-one knows except the elite, and as for the rest, they never heard about it. If this book had been written by our Shaykh Zakariyya [al-Ansari], or by anyone who believes [in awliyâ’], it would have been copied with gold because, as a matter of fact, it has no equal: for (Of the bounties of thy Lord We bestow freely on all, these as well as those: the bounties of thy Lord are not closed to anyone) (17:20).

Al-Biqa‘i went to extremes in his denial and wrote books about the subject, all of them clearly and excessively fanatical and deviating from the straight path. But then he paid for it fully and even more than that, for he was caught in the act on several occasions and was judged a disbeliever. It was ruled that his blood be shed and he was about to get killed, but he asked the help and protection of some influential people who rescued him, and he was made to repent in Salihiyya, Egypt, and renew his Islam.[41]

Al-Dhahabi’s Warning to Critics of Sufis

Al-Dhahabi voiced something similar to al-Haytami’s warnings against those inclined to attack Sufis:

Our Shaykh Ibn Wahb [= Ibn Daqiq al-‘Id] said – may Allah have mercy on him: ‘Among the predica­ments that mar the discipline of narrator-discreditation are the divergences that take place between the follow­ers of tasawwuf (al-mutasawwifa) and the people of ex­ternal knowledge (ahl al-‘ilm al-zâhir); animosity there­fore arose between these two groups and necessi­tated mutual criticism.’

Now this [animosity against Sufis] is a plunge from which none escapes unscathed except one thor­oughly knowledgeable with all the evidentiary proofs of the Law. Note that I do not limit such knowledge to the branches [of the Law]. For, concerning many of the states de­scribed by the people of truth (al-muhiqqîn)  among the Sufis, right can­not be told from wrong on the mere basis of knowledge of the bran­ches. One must also possess firm knowledge of the principles of the Law and be able to tell apart the obligatory from the possible, as well as the rationally impossible from the customarily impossible.

It is, indeed, a position fraught with danger! For the critic of a true Sufi (muhiqq al-sûfiyya)  enters into the hadith: “Whosoever shows enmity to one of My Friends, I shall declare war upon him.”[42] While one that abandons all condemnation for what is clearly wrong in what he hears from some of them, abandons the commanding of good and the forbidding of evil.[43]

Some of Ibn ‘Arabi’s Sayings

It is remarkable that there were very few contemporaries of Ibn ‘Arabi among his accusers, although he travelled and taught all over the Islamic world and, as Ibn Hajar stated, “he made his mark in every country that he entered”[44] while his admirers among the authorities of Islam lived both in his own lifetime and later.

Among the Shaykh’s sayings:

· “Whoever is truthful in something and pursues it diligently will obtain it sooner or later; if he does not obtain it in this world, he will obtain it in the next; and whoever dies before victory shall be elevated to the level of his diligence.”

· “The knower of Allah knows through eyesight (basar) what others know through insight (basîra), and he knows through insight what virtually no-one knows. De­spite this, he does not feel secure from the harm of his ego towards himself; how then could he ever feel secure from what His Lord has foreordained for him?”

· “The knower’s declaration to his student: ‘Take from me this science which you can find nowhere else,’ does not detract from the knower’s level, nor do other similar declarations that appear to be self-eulogy, because his intention is only to encourage the student to receive it.”

· “The discourse of the knower is in the image of the lis­tener accor­ding to the latter’s powers, readiness, weak­ness, and inner reserva­tions.”

· “If you find it complicated to answer someone’s question, do not answer it, for his container is already full and does not have room for the answer.”

· “The ignorant one does not see his ignorance as he basks in its dark­ness; nor does the knowledgeable one see his own knowledge, for he basks in its light.”

· “Whoever asks for a proof for the oneness of Allah, a donkey knows more than him.”

Ibn ‘Arabi’s short book of poetry Tarjuman al-Ashwaq (“The Inter­preter of Desires”) is considered one of the mas­terpieces of classical Arabic poetry and has been translated in several languages. The Futuhat al-Makkiyya also contains some outstanding samples of the Shaykh’s poetry. Following is a poem he addresses to the Ka‘ba:

1. In the Place of refuge my heart sought refuge,

      shot with enmity’s arrows.

2. O Mercy of Allah for His slaves, Allah placed His trust

 in you among all inanimate forms.

3. O House of my Lord, O light of my heart,

      O coolness of my eyes,[45] O my heart within,

4. O true secret of the heart of existence,

      my sacred trust, my purest love!

5. O direction from which I turn from every quarter and


6. From subsistence in the Real, then from the height,

      from self-extinction, then from the depths!

7. O Ka‘ba of Allah, O my life,

      O path of good fortune, O my guidance,

8. In you has Allah placed every safety

      from the fear of disaster upon the Return.

9. In you does the noble Station flourish,

      in you are found the fortunes of the slaves of Allah.

10. In you is the Right Hand that my sin has draped

      in the robe of blackness.[46]

11. Multazam is in you – he who clings to love for it,

      will be saved on the Day of Mutual Cries.[47]

12. Souls passed away longing for Her,

      in the pain of longing and distant separation.

13. In sorrow at their news she has put on

      the garment of mourning.[48]

14. Allah sheds His light on her court,

      and something of His light appears in the heart.

15. None sees it but the sorrowful

      whose eyes are dark from lack of sleep.

16. He circumambulates seven times after seven,

      from the beginning of night until the call to prayer.

17. Hostage to endless sadness, he is never seen

      but bound to effort.

18. I heard him call upon Allah and say, beside the Black

   Stone: “O my heart!

19. Our night has quickly passed,

      but the goal of my love has not passed!”[49]

Ibn ‘Imad said: “He died – may Allah have mercy on him! – in the house of the Qadi Muhyi al-Din ibn al-Zaki and was taken to Qasyûn [Damascus] and buried in the noble mound, one of the groves of Paradise, and Allah knows best.”[50]

Shaykh Muhyi al-Din Ibn ‘Arabi

Islamic Doctrine


The Blessings and Peace of Allah Upon the Messenger of Allah and Upon his Family and All his Companions

[Al-Futuhat §130] My faithful brethren – may Allah seal your lives and mine with goodness! – when I heard the saying of Allah I about His Prophet Hûd u, as the latter told his folk who had belied him and his apostleship: (I call Allah to wit­ness, and do you (too) bear witness, that I am inno­cent of (all) that you ascribe as partners (to Allah)) (11:54), [I saw that] he called his folk to witness in his regard – although they belied him – that he was innocent of associating any partners to Allah, and that he positively con­firmed His Oneness; and since he knew that Allah Iwill sum­mon human beings before Him and ask them about what he himself knew, either to exon­er­ate or convict them, until every single witness bears witness;

[131] And since it was related that the caller to prayer  (mu’adhdhin) is wit­nessed to by every living and non-living thing as far as his voice can reach, and by everything and every­one that hears him; hence “The devil flees at the call to prayer, pas­sing wind”[52] so that he will not hear the caller’s call to prayer and then have to witness on the latter’s behalf, thereby becoming one of those who contribute to the felicity of the one being wit­nessed to, whereas he is the absolute enemy and does not bear for us an iota of good – may Allah curse him!

[132] Now, if the enemy himself is obliged to testify on your behalf to what­ever you call him to witness regarding your own person, it is even more cer­tain that your friend and beloved should testify on your behalf – for the latter shares your religion and belongs to your religious community – and it is more certain that you yourself should testify, in this world, for yourself, to Oneness (al-wahdâniyya)  and Belief (al-îmân).

The First Testimony of Faith

[133] Therefore, O my brethren, O my beloved – may Allah be well pleased with you! – a weak slave calls upon you to wit­ness, a poor one utterly depen­dent on His Lord in every glimpse of the eye, the author and maker of this book [al-Futuhat al-Makkiyya (“The Meccan Conquests”)]; he calls you to testify in his regard, after calling Allah I to witness, His angels, and who­ever is present with him and hears him among the believers, that he bears wit­ness in word and in full conviction (qawlan wa ‘aqdan) that:

[134] Allah the Exalted is One God, without second in His divinity;

[135] Transcendent above possessing a mate or a son;

[136] Absolute owner [of all] (mâlik) without partner; absolute king (malik) without minister;

[137] Creator (sâni‘) without any disposer of affairs (mudab­bir)  with Him;

[138] Existing in Himself  (mawjûdun bî dhâtihi), without any dependence on, or need for an originator (mûjid) to originate Him. Rather, every existing thing other than Him, depends on Him and needs Him to exist. The whole universe exists through Him, and He alone can be said to exist in Himself.

[139] There is no outset (iftitâh)  to His existence nor end to His permanence. His existence is absolute and unconditioned.

[140] He is subsistent in Himself (qâ’imun binafsih): not as a spatially boun­ded substance (jawhar mutahayyiz) – for then place would be assigned to Him; nor as an accident (‘arad) – for then permanence would be impossi­ble for Him; nor as a body (jism) – for then He would have a direction (jiha) and a front (tilqâ’).

[141] He is transcendent (muqaddasun) above possessing directions (jihât) and regions  (aqtâr).

[142] He can be seen with the hearts and the eyes, if He so wills.

[143] He established Himself over His Throne just as He said and in the mean­ing that He intended; also, the Throne and every­thing else was estab­lished by Him (bihi istawâ),[53] and (unto Him belong the after (life), and the former) (53:25).

[144] He has no conceivable equivalent whatsoever (laysa lahu mithlun ma‘qûl), nor can minds represent Him. Time does not confine Him, nor place lift nor transport Him. Rather, He was when there was no place, and He is now as He ever was.[54]

[145] He created fixity (al-mutamakkin) and place (al-makân),[55] brought time into existence, and said: “I am the One, the Ever-Living” (anâ al-Wâhid al-Hayy).[56] Preserving His creations in no way tires Him. Attributes which do not describe Him and are devised by creatures do not apply to Him.[57]

[146] Exalted is He far above being in­dwelt by originated matters, or indwel­ling them, or that they be “after Him” or that He be “before them”! Rather, we say: “He was and there was nothing with him.” For the words ‘before’ and ‘after’ are among the locutions of Time, which He invented.[58]

[147] He is the Self-Sustaining Sustainer of All (al-Qayyûm) Who sleeps not, the All-Compelling Subduer (al-Qahhâr) Whom one resists not. (There is noth­ing whatsoever like unto Him) (42:11).

[148] He created the Throne (al-‘arsh) and made it the boundary  (hadd) of istiwâ’, and He created the Footstool (al-kursî) and made it encompass the earth and the heavens.

[149] The Sublimely Exalted (al-‘Alî)contrived the Tablet and the Sublime Pen, making them bring about the inscription of His Knowledge concerning His creation until the Day of Determina­tion and Verdict.

[150] He contrived the entire universe without precedent. He created crea­tion then caused what He created to wither.

[151] He sent down the souls (al-arwâh) into the specters (al-ashbâh) as cus­to­dians, and made those soul-endowed specters deputies on earth.

[152] He made subservient to us all that is in the heavens and the earth from Him, whereof not one atom moves except back to Him and because of Him.

[153] He created everything without need for it, and no neces­sity drove Him to do so, but with His foreknowledge that He would create whatever He created.

[154] (He is the First and the Last and the Manifest and the Hidden) (57:3), (and He is able to do all things) (5:120, 11:4, 30:50, 42:9, 57:2, 64:1, 67:1).

[155] (He surrounds all things in knowledge) (65:12) (and He keeps count of all things) (72:28), (He knows the traitor of the eyes and that which the bosoms hide) (40:19). (Should He not know what He created? And He is the Subtle, the Aware) (67:14).

[156] He knew all things before they came into existence, then He brought them into existence exactly as He knew them. He has known them without beginning to His knowledge, and such knowledge in no way becomes newer upon the renewal of origination (tajaddud al-inshâ’). He brought all things to perfec­tion in His knowledge, then He established them firmly (bi ‘ilmihi atqana al-ashyâ’a fa ahkamahâ). Likewise, He has full knowledge of their smallest details (juz’iyyât) according to the consensus and complete agree­ment of the people of sound scru­tiny.[59] (Knower of the invisible and the visible! and exalted be He over all that they ascribe as partners (unto Him)) (23:92).

[156—A]  (Doer of what He will) (85:16), He is therefore willing (murîd) for existent entities in the earthly and heavenly worlds. However, His power is without link to anything (lam tata‘allaq bi shay’) until He wills it.[60] Like­wise, He does not will anything until He knows it. For it is impossible in the mind that He wills something of which He knows not, or that one who is endowed with the choice of not doing, should do what He does not want to do. Likewise, it is impossible that all these realities be attributed to one who is not living, and it is impossible that the Attributes subsist in other than an Entity described by them.

[157] There is not in all existence any observance nor sin, any gain nor loss, any slave nor free man, any cold nor hot, any life nor death, any happening nor elapsing, any day nor night, any moderation nor inclination, any land nor sea, any even nor odd, any substance nor accident, any health nor sickness, any joy nor sadness, any soul nor specter, any darkness nor light, any earth nor heaven, any assembling nor disjoining, any plenty nor scarcity, any morn­ing nor evening, any white nor black, any sleep nor wakefulness, any visible nor hidden, any moving nor still, any dry nor moist, any shell nor core, or any of all such mutually contrasting, variegated, or similar entities, except it is so willed by the Real – Exalted is He!

[158] How could He not will it when it is He Who brought it into existence? And how could the one endowed with free will, bring into existence what He does not want? None can turn down His command, and none can dispute His decision.

[159] ([He] gives sovereignty unto whom [He] will, and [He] withdraws sovereignty from whom [He] will. [He] exalts whom [He] will and [He] abases whom [He] will) (3:26). ([He] sends whom [He] will astray and guides whom [He] will) (7:155). What­ever Allah wants, comes into exis­tence (mâ shâ’a Allahu kân), and whatever He does not wish to be, does not come into existence (mâ lam yasha’ an yakûna lam yakun).

[160] If all creatures convened to want something which Allah does not want them to want, they cannot want it. Or, if they convened to do something which Allah does not want to bring into existence – although they willed it whenever He wanted them to will it – they cannot do it; nor can they even be capable of doing it; nor does He enable them to.

[161] Therefore, disbelief and belief, observance and sin, are all according to His desire (mashî’a), His wisdom (hikma), and His will (irâda). And He – Glorified is He! – is described as pos­sessing such will without beginning.

[162] The universe is in oblivion and nonexistence, although firmly estab­lished in itself in [the divine] knowledge. Then He brought the universe into existence without reflection (tafakkur) nor deliberation(tadabbur) such as accompany ignorance or un­awareness and would then presumably provide Him the know­ledge of what He knew not – greatly exalted and elevated is He above that! Rather, He brought it into existence on the basis of foreknowl­edge(al-‘ilm al-sâbiq), and the exact specification (ta‘yîn) of transcendent, pre-existent will(al-irâda al-munaz­zaha al-azaliyya) determining just how it brought the universe into being with respect to time, place, forms, masses, and color. None exists exerting will, in reality, other than He. For He says: (And you will not, unless Allah wills) (76:30, 81:29).

[163] Just as He knows, He determines(kamâ ‘alima fa ahkama); just as He wills, He details (arâda fa khassasa); just as He foreordains, He brings into existence (qaddara fa awjada). Likewise, He hears and sees what­ever moves or stands still and whatever utters a sound in all creation, whether in the low­est world or the highest. Distance (al-bu‘d) does not in any way hamper His hearing, for He is the Near (al-Qarîb). Nor does nearness (al-qurb) veil His sight, for He is the Far (al-Ba‘îd).[61] He hears the discourse of the self in itself (kalâm al-nafs fi al-nafs), and the sound of the hidden contact upon its touch. He sees the very blackness in darkness, and water inside water. Neither admixture (imtizâj), nor darkness, nor light veils Him,[62] (and He is the Hearer, the Seer) (42:11).

[164] He speaks, not after being previously silent nor fol­lowing pre­sumed tacitness, with a speech pre-eternal and begin­ningless like the rest of His attributes, whether His knowledge, will, or power. He spoke to Musa u. He named it [His speech] the divine Bestowal (al-tanzîl), the Book of Psalms (al-zabûr), the Torah, and the Evangel. [All this] without letters (hurûf), sounds (aswât), tones (nagham), nor languages (lughât). Rather, He is the Creator of sounds, letters, and languages.[63]

[165] His speech is [spoken] without [the organs of] uvula and tongue, just as His hearing is without auditory meatus nor ears, His sight is without pupil nor eyelids, His will is without cogitation (qalb) nor inner reflection (janân), His knowledge is without compulsion (idtirâr) nor examination of any proof, His life is without the vapor which is caused in the cavity of the heart by the admixture of the elements. His Entity accepts neither increase nor decrease.

[166] Glorified, most glorified is He Who, from afar, comes near! To Him belongs tremendous majesty, surpassing goodness, magnificent generosity! Everything that is other than Him is but an outpouring of His munificence. His grace unfolds it and His justice folds it up again.

[167] He perfected the making of the universe and made it uniquely excellent(akmala san‘a al-‘âlami wa abda‘ahu) when He brought it into existence and invented it. He has no partner in His domain (milk) nor joint disposer of affairs (mudabbir) in His dominion (mulk).

[168] Whenever He shows favor He sends comfort and ease; and this is His kindness. Whenever He sends adversity He pun­ishes; and this is His justice. In no way does He intrude upon another’s domain so as to be attributed tyranny and injustice. Nor is anyone besides Him entitled to pass judgment on Him so that He could be attributed apprehension or fear from such. Eve­rything other than Him is under the authority of His subjugation  (qahr) and subject to the disposal of His will and His command.

[169] It is He that inspires with Godwariness or rebelliousness the souls of those who are legally responsible. It is He that disre­gards the transgressions of whomever He will, and holds to task whomever He will, both here and on the Day of Resurrection. His justice does not hold sway (yahkum) over His kindness nor does His kindness hold sway over His justice.

[170] He brought forth the world as two handfuls (qabdatayn) to which He gave two levels  (manzilatayn), saying: “These are for Paradise, and I care not (lâ ubâlî)![64] Those are for Hellfire, and I care not!”[65] No-one raised the least objection at that time. One handful stands under the Names of His adversity (balâ’), and one stands under the Names of His favors (âlâ’).

[171] If He wished that the whole universe be in felicity, it would be so; and [if He wished that it be] in misery, it would not have obtained the slightest degree of felicity. However, He did not wish it so, and it was exactly as He wished. Consequently, people are either miserable or happy, here and on the Day of Return. There is no possibility to change whatever the Pre-eternal One has decided. He has said, concerning prayer: “It is five al­though it counts as fifty.”[66] (The sentence that comes from Me can­not be changed, and I am in no wise a tyrant unto the slaves)(50:29) for My authority over the disposal of affairs in My domain and the accomplishment of My volition in My dominion.

[172] All this is because of a reality that sights and insights  (al-absâr wa al-basâ’ir) are utterly unable to see, nor can mental powers and minds stumble upon its knowledge except through a divine bestowal and token of the All-Merciful’s generosity towards him whom He nourishes among His servants, and who was fore-chosen for this at the time he was summoned to witness. He then came to know – when He was given to know – that the Godhead (al-ulûha) devised this allotment and that it is one of the refinements of the One Who is without beginning.

[173] Glory to Him besides Whom there is no effecter (fâ‘il), nor any self-existent being (mawjûd li nafsih)! (And Allah has created you and what you make) (37:95), (He will not be questioned as to what He does, but they will be questioned) (21:23), (Say—For to Allah belongs the final argu­ment — Had He willed He could indeed have guided all of you) (6:149). [67]

The Second Testimony of Faith

[174] Just as I have called upon Allah and His angels, as well as all His creation and yourselves, to testify in my regard to my declaration of His oneness, likewise, I call upon Him – glorified is He! – and His angels, as well as all His creation and your­selves, to testify in my regard to my firm belief in the one He elected and chose from the very time he existed. That is: our master Muhammad r whom He sent to all people without exception, (a bearer of glad tidings and a warner) (2:119, 34:28, 35:24, 41:4) (And as a summoner unto Allah by His permission, and as a light-giving lamp) (33:46).

[175] The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) thus conveyed fully all that was revealed to him from his Lord, discharged His trust, and acted faithfully (nasaha) toward his Com­mu­nity. He stood, in his farewell Pil­grimage, before all those present among his followers, address­ing and reminding them, deterring and caution­ing them, giving them glad tidings and warning them, promising and threat­ening them. He showered them with rain and made them tremble with thun­der. He did not address anyone specifically at the exclusion of others in his ad­mo­nition. He did all this after permission from the One, the Everlasting I. Then he said: “Lo! Have I conveyed the message?” They replied: “You have conveyed the message, O Messenger of Allah!” So he said: “O Allah! Bear witness.”[68]

[176] Likewise, [I call upon all] to testify that I firmly believe in everything that the Prophet  (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) brought – that which I know and that which I know not. Among the things which he brought is the decree that death comes at a time specified in the presence of Allah I and that, come that time, it is not delayed. I, for my part, firmly believe this, without the slightest reservation nor doubt.

[177] Just as I firmly believe and declare that the interrogation of the two examiners in the grave is true; the punishment in the grave and the rais­ing of the bodies from the grave are both true; the review in the presence of Allah I is true; the Basin is true; the Balance is true; the flying (tatâyur) of individual Records in every direction is true;[69] the Bridge is true; Paradise is true; Hell­fire is true; (A host will be in the Garden, and a host of them in the Flame) (42:7) truly; the agony of that day is true for one group; as for an­other group, (the Supreme Horror will not grieve them) (21:103);[70]

[178] The intercession of the angels, the Prophets, and the Believers, followed by the taking out of the Fire, by the most Merciful of those who show mercy, of anyone He wishes, is true; a group of the grave sinners among the Believers shall enter Hellfire and then exit it through intercession and gratification truly; eternal and everlasting world-without-end (al-ta’bîd) in the midst of the pleasures of Paradise is true for the Believers and those who affirm Oneness; eternal and everlasting world-without-end in the Fire for the dwellers of the Fire is true; and all that was announced by the Books and Messengers that came from Allah – whether one came to know it or not – is true.

[179] This is my witness in my own regard, and it is the responsibility of each and every person that it reaches, to bring it forward if asked about it, whenever and wherever he may be.

Final Supplication

[180] May Allah grant us and grant you the greatest benefit with this faith. May He make us adhere to it firmly at the time of journeying from this abode to the abode of true life. May He replace for us this abode with the abode of munificence and good pleasure. May He intervene between us and a dwelling with (raiments of pitch) (14:50). May He count us in the troop that take their record with the right hand and return from the Pond fully sated, those in whose favor the Balance weighs down and whose feet stand firm on the Bridge. Truly He is the Munifi­cent (al-Mun‘im), the Giver of All Good (al-Mihsân)!

[181] (All praise to Allah, Who has guided us to this. We could not truly have been led aright if Allah had not guided us. Verily the messengers of our Lord did bring the Truth!) (7:43).


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[1] In al-Qari, Firr al-‘Awn (p. 141-142).

[2] Ibn ‘Ata’ Allah in Lata’if al-Minan (1:84-98) states that there is con­sensus among the Sufis that al-Khidr is alive. Ibn al-Jawzi in his book‘Ujala al-Muntazir fi Sharh Hal al-Khadir (cf. Hajji Khalifa, Kashf al-Zunun [2:1125] and Abu Ghudda infra) voices the extreme view that to suggest that al-Khidr is alive contradicts the Shari‘a, yet in his Mana­qib al-Imam Ahmad (p. 144) he himself narrates the report of a meeting of Bilal al-Khawass with al-Khidr! Ibn al-Qayyim in al-Manar al-Munif (p. 67-76) and his editor, ‘Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghudda, also claim that al-Khidr is not alive. Among the strongest transmitted proofs to the contrary are two reports, one narrated by Imam Ahmad in al-Zuhd whereby the Prophet e said that Ilyas and al-Khidr meet every year and spend the month of Ramadan in al-Qudus, and the other narrated by Ya‘qub ibn Sufyan from ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz whereby a man he was seen walking with was actually al-Khidr. Ibn Hajar declared the chain of the first fair and that of the second sound in Fath al-Bari (1959 ed. 6:435). He goes on to cite another sound report narrated by Ibn ‘Asakir from Abu Zur‘a al-Razi where­by the latter met al-Khidr twice, once in his young age, the other in his old age, but al-Khidr him­self had not changed.

Al-Qadi ‘Iyad in his notice on Ibn Abi Zayd inTartib al-Madarik  narrates from al-Ajdabi: “I was sitting with Abu Muhammad [Ibn Abi Zayd] when Abu al-Qasim ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn ‘Abd al-Mu’min the mutakallim was with him. A man asked them about al-Khidr and whether it could he said that he was still in this world in spite of all this time and would not die until the Final Hour comes and whether this is refuted by the words of the Almighty,[We did not give any human being before you immortality] (21:34). They both replied to him that that was possible and per­mitted and al-Khidr could live until the Final Trumpet was blown. For immortality is connected to remaining as long as the Next World remains, while remaining until the Trumpet is blown is not immortality. Do you not see that Iblis – may Allah curse him – is not immortal, but he is one of those deferred until the Day of a Known Time?”

The hadith master al-Sakhawi stated: “It is well-known that al-Nawawi used to meet with al-Khidr and converse with him among many other unveilings (mukâ­shafât).” Al-Sakhawi, Tarjima Shaykh al-Islam Qutb al-Awliya’ al-Kiram wa Faqih al-Anam Muhyi al-Sunna wa Mumit al-Bid‘a Abi Zakariyya Muhyi al-Din al-Nawawi  (“Biogra­phy of the Shaykh of Islam, the Pole of the Noble Saints and Jurist of Mankind, the Reviver of the Sunna and Slayer of Innovation Abu Zakariyya Muhyiddin al-Nawawi”) (Cairo: Jam‘iyya al-Nashr wa al-Ta’lif al-Azhariyya, 1354/1935 p. 33).

Al-Barzanji in his book al-Isha‘a li Ashrat al-Sa‘a (1997 ed. p. 279-281; 1995 ed. p. 204-205) lists proofs to the effect that al-Khidr u is alive and shall face and belie the Antichrist (al-Dajjâl), as he is the one meant in the hadith whereby a man faces the Antichrist and belies him, whereupon the latter saws him in half then revives him only to be belied again. Narrated from Abu Sa‘id al-Khudri by Abu Ya‘la in his Musnad (2:332) and al-Hakim (1984 ed. 4:581=orig. ed. 4:537), both with a chain containing ‘Atiyya ibn Sa‘d who is weak, and with another chain (by Abu Ya‘la 2:535) containing Sufyan ibn Waki‘ who is weak; also narrated from Abu Umama al-Bahili by Ibn Majah in his Sunan (book of Fitan) with a chain containing Isma‘il ibn Rafi‘, who is weak in his memorization; also narrated by Nu‘aym ibn Hammad (d. 288) in Kitab al-Fitan (2:551) who said: al-Zuhri said: ‘Ubayd Allah ibn ‘Abd Allah [ibn] ‘Utba narrated to us that Abu Sa‘id al-Khudri said… The latter is a sound chain but there are several unnamed links between Nu‘aym and al-Zuhri. Also narrated by al-Dani (d. 444) in his book al-Sunan fi al-Fitan  (6:1178) but with a chain that stops at the Tabi‘i Abu Mijlaz. None of the weakness mentioned above in the chains raised to the Prophet e is grave. If the weak links are at the same levels of the narrators’ biographical layers and are judged to strengthen each other, it would raise the grade of the hadith to “fair due to corroborative/witness chains”  (hasan li ghayrih). It is confirmed by the hadith related from Abu ‘Ubayda ibn al-Jarrah whereby the Prophet (sall said: “It may be that one of those who saw me and heard my speech shall meet the Dajjal.” Narrated by Ibn Hibban in his Sahih (15:181) with a weak chain according to Shaykh Shu‘ayb al-Arna’ut, however, Imam al-Tirmidhi in his Sunan said it is also narrated from three other Companions and thus graded the hadith itself “fair and single-chained (hasan gharîb) as narrated from Abu ‘Ubayda,” and Allah knows best.

[3] See Hilmi’s 284-entry bibliography in al-Burhan al-Azhar as well as the books of Prof. Michel Chodkiewicz (The Seal of Saints and An Ocean Without Shore) and his daughter Prof. Claude Addas (Quest for the Red Sulphur).

[4]In al-Suyuti, Tanbih al-Ghabi (p. 71).

[5]In Ibn ‘Imad, Shadharat al-Dhahab (5:200).

[6]Cf. al-Suyuti’s Tanbih al-Ghabi (p. 52-54).

[7]Al-Suyuti, Tanbih al-Ghabi fi Takhti’a Ibn ‘Arabi (p. 17-21). The correct title has tanzihinstead of takhti’a as in Hajji Khalifa’s Kashf al-Zunun (1:488) and al-Qari’s works.

[8]Al-Suyuti, Tanbih al-Ghabi (p. 59-60).

[9]In al-Suyuti, Tanbih al-Ghabi (p. 70).

[10]Al-Qari, Risala fi Wahda al-Shuhud (p. 62).

[11]Ibn al-Najjar, Dhayl Tarikh Baghdad as quoted in al-Suyuti, Tanbih al-Ghabi (p. 64-66) and in Ibn Hajar, Lisan al-Mizan (5:311 #1038).

[12] As related from al-Biqa‘i by al-Suyuti in Tanbih al-Ghabi (p. 40-41).

[13] As related from al-Biqa‘i by al-Suyuti inTanbih al-Ghabi (p. 42-43).

[14] See al-Sakhawi, al-Daw’ al-Lami‘ (8:17) and al-Kawthari’s Maqalat (p. 412-413).

aAl-Adnahwi, Tabaqat al-Mufassirin (p. 230 #276).

[15] In Shadharat al-Dhahab (5:190).

[16] Al-Qari wrote Firr al-‘Awn in reply to him.

[17] Al-Qari addresses it towards the end of Firr al-‘Awn (p. 142f.).

[18] See Ibn Hajar, Inba’ al-Ghumr bi A‘mar al-‘Umr (3:403-404), year 831.

[19] In Hilmi, al-Burhan al-Azhar (p. 32-33).

[20] Ibid. (p. 34).

[21] As stated by his student al-Haytami, Fatawa Hadithiyya (p. 331).

[22] See his Majmu‘a Rasa’il Ibn ‘Abidin (2:271).

[23] On the hadith master Imam Badr al-Din al-Hasani see the biography by his student Shaykh Mahmud al-Rankusi entitled al-Durar al-Lu’lu’iyya fi al-Nu‘ut al-Badriyya (Damas­cus, 1951). Dr. Wahbe al-Zuhayli told us that Shaykh Badr al-Din al-Hasani fasted every day of the year except the two days of ‘Id, including on the Day of ‘Arafa during pilgrimage.

[24] Al-Qinnawji, Takhrij al-Wasaya (p. 119).

[25] Al-Qasimi, Qawa‘id al-Tahdith (p. 348-351).

[26] Al-Kawthari, Maqalat (p. 412-413).

b Muhammad ‘Abduh, Tafsir al-Manar (1:18).

[27] In Ibn ‘Imad, Shadharat al-Dhahab (5:192).

[28] In al-Qari, Risala fi Wahda al-Shuhud (p. 55).

[29] Narrated from Abu Hurayra by Bukhari, Muslim, Ahmad, al-Nasa’i, and Ibn Majah; from ‘Umar by Muslim, al-Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, Ahmad, and al-Nasa’i; and from Abu Dharr by al-Nasa’i, all as part of a longer hadith.

[30] From his Damascus lessons on the Munajat of Ibn ‘Ata’ Allah, 21 September 1997.

[31] i.e. if some texts seem to affirm indwelling, they do so metaphorically, as the literal given of divine Transcendence is not open to question.

[32] From Dr. Sa‘id al-Buti’s unpublished commentary on the Hikam of Ibn ‘Ata’ Allah.

[33] “I was one of those who, previously, used to hold the best opinion of Ibn ‘Arabi and extol his praise, because of the benefits I saw in his books, such as al-Futuhat, al-Kanh, al-Muhkam al-Marbut, al-Durra al-Fakhira, Matali‘ al-Nujum, and other such works.” Ibn Taymiyya,Tawhid al-Rububiyya in Majmu‘a al-Fatawa (2:464-465).

[34] In the epistle attributed to him and entitled Fadiha al-Mulhidin or Risala fi Wahda al-Wujud, a title also used by al-Qari. Al-Kawthari revelad in his Maqalat (p. 413) that the real author of al-Taftazani’s supposed epistle was ‘Ala’ al-Din al-Bukhari. The Hanafi jurist Isma‘il Kalnabawi responded to that epistle in a fatwa cited in full in al-Burhan al-Azhar (p. 18-22).

[35] As named by al-Qari in his Risala fi Wahda al-Wujud (p. 61).

[36] In al-Qari, Firr al-‘Awn (p. 144). Al-Fayruzabadi said: “If the report whereby Ibn ‘Abd al-Salam and our shaykh al-Bulqini ordered Ibn ‘Arabi’s books burnt were true, not one of his books would have re­mained today in Egypt or Sham, and no-one would have dared copy them again after the words of these two shaykhs.” In Hilmi, al-Burhan al-Azhar (p. 32). Al-Hilmi adds (p. 34) that a further proof that al-Subki changed his position concerning Ibn ‘Arabi is that he wrote many refutations against the heresies of his time but never wrote against Ibn ‘Arabi, although his books were widely read in Damascus and elsewhere.

[37] He wrote al-Radd al-Aqwam ‘ala ma fi Fusûs al-Hikam but is on record as not objecting to Ibn ‘Arabi’s other works, as noted.

[38] Mizan al-I‘tidal (3:660). Al-Dhahabi in the same chapter makes derogatory com­ments and reports a strange story which Ibn Hajar cited in Lisan al-Mizan. Al-Qari also attributes negative comments on Ibn ‘Arabi to al-Suyuti in the latter’s al-Tahbir li ‘Ilm al-Tafsir and Itmam al-Diraya Sharh al-Niqaya.

[39] Al-Khadimi wrote in the introduction to hisSharh Ma‘ani al-Basmala: “It was stated in al-Bazaziyya that if a certain question has a hundred aspects, ninety-nine of which entail disbelief and one precludes it, the scholar must lean towards the latter and not give a fatwa to the apostasy of a Muslim as long as he can give his words a good interpretation. Also, in al-Usul: No preference is given in the face of abundant evidence to the contrary.” As cited in al-Burhan al-Azhar (p. 17-18). In Bustan al-‘Arifin al-Nawawi states, after reporting Abu al-Khayr al-Tibyani’s apparent breach of the Shari‘a: “Someone that imitates jurists without understanding may imagine wrong and object to this, out of ignorance and stupidity. To imagine wrong here is plain recklessness in giving vent to suspicions against the Friends of the All-Merciful.  The wise person must beware from such behavior! On the contrary, if one did not understand the wisdoms from which they benefited and their fine subtleties, it is his duty is to understand them from one who does. You may witness such occurrences about which the superficial person gets the illusion of deviation, but which are actually not deviant. On the contrary, it is obligatory to interpret figuratively the actions of the friends of Allah.” As cited in al-Suyuti’s Tanbih al-Ghabi (p. 45-46) and Ibn ‘Imad, Shadharat al-Dhahab (5:194). The rules spelled out by al-Nawawi, al-Haytami, and al-Khadimi refute the presumption that only the statements of the Prophet r may be interpreted figuratively (cf. al-Qunawi in al-Qari’s Risala fi Wahda al-Wujud p. 110 and al-Suyuti’s Tanbih al-Ghabi p. 44-45, as against ‘Ala’ al-Din al-Bukhari in al-Qari’s Firr al-‘Awnp. 153; cf. al-Munawi in Ibn ‘Imad, Shadharat 5:194) or that “every truth that contravenes the outward rule of the Law consists in disguised disbelief (zandaqa)” (al-Qari, Firr al-‘Awn p. 152). The most shining refutation of the latter claim lies in the Prophet’s r hadith of the straying desert traveller who, finding his mount and provisions after having lost them, is so over­whelmed by joy that he exclaims: “O Allah, You are my slave and I am Your master!” Narrated from Anas by Muslim in his Sahih.

[40] Al-Sakhawi in al-Daw’ al-Lami‘ similarly points out this contradic­tion between al-Biqa‘i’s expressed principles and his actual practices.

[41] Al-Haytami, Fatawa Hadithiyya (p. 331). For the account of the condemnation of al-Biqa‘i himself as a kâfir see al-Sakhawi’s al-Daw’ al-Lami‘ and al-Shawkani’s al-Badr al-Tali‘.

[42] The complete hadith states: “Whosoever shows enmity to one of My Friends, I shall declare war upon him. My servant draws not near to Me with anything more loved by Me than the religious duties I have en­joined upon him, and My servant continues to draw near to Me with su­per­erogatory works so that I shall love him. When I love him I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes, his foot with which he walks. Were he to ask something of Me, I would surely give it to him. Were he to seek refuge in Me, I would surely grant him it.Nor do I hesitate to do any­thing as I hesi­tate to take back the believer’s soul, for he hates death and I hate to hurt him.” Narrated from Abu Hurayra by Bukhari. Ibn ‘Abd al-Salam in al-Ishara ila al-Ijaz (p. 108) said: “The ‘hesi­tancy’ of Allah I in this hadith is a meta­phor of the believer’s superlative rank in the presence of Allah and connotes a lesser hurt to prevent a greater harm, as in the case of a father’s severance of his son’s gangrened hand so as to save his life.”

[43] Al-Dhahabi, al-Muqiza (p. 88-90).

[44] Ibn Hajar, Lisan al-Mizan  (5:311 #1038). See also his words in al-Intisar li A’imma al-Amsarand in al-Qari’s Risala fi Wahda al-Wujud (p. 113).

[45] The mere sight of Ka‘ba is considered worship.

[46] The hadith “The Black Stone is the right hand of Allah” is narrated from Ibn ‘Abbas, Jabir, Anas, and others by Ibn Abi ‘Umar al-Ma‘dani in his Musnad, al-Tabarani, al-Suyuti in al-Jami‘ al-Saghir (1:516), Ibn ‘Asakir in hisTarikh (15:90-92), al-Khatib in his (6:328), and others. Al-‘Ajluni stated that it is sahîh as a halted report from Ibn ‘Abbas as narrated by al-Quda‘i in the wording: “The Corner is the Right Hand of Allah on earth…,” and declared it hasanas a hadith of the Prophet r. Ibn Qu­tayba in Mukhtalaf al-Hadith (1972 ed. p. 215) attributes it to Ibn ‘Abbas and relates a saying of ‘A’isha that the Stone is the deposi­tory of the covenant of souls with Allah. Its mention in the Reliance of the Traveller (p. 853b) as “narrated by al-Hakim, who declared it sahîh, from ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Amr,” is incorrect.

[47] Multazam is the space between the Black Stone and the Ka‘ba’s door (including the two) where prayers are answered.

[48] An allusion to the kiswa or black cloth covering the Ka‘ba.

[49] Ibn ‘Arabi, Futuhat (original ed. 1:701).

[50] Main sources: Hilmi, al-Burhan al-Azhar; Ibn ‘Imad,  Shadharat al-Dhahab (5:190-202); al-Suyuti, Tanbih al-Ghabi.

[51] From ‘Uthman Yahya’s edition of al-Futuhat al-Makkiyya  (1:162-172), Part Three of “The Meccan Conquest,” chapter entitled “Attach­ment Comprising the Essential Creed of All, Which is the Doctrine of the People of Islam Agreed To Without Examining the Proof Nor the Pre­s­en­tation of Evidence” (Waslun Yatadammanu Mâ Yanbaghî an Yu‘taqad ‘alâ al-‘Umûm wa Hiya ‘Aqîdatu Ahl al-Islâmi Musallama­tan min Ghayri Nazarin ilâ Dalilin wa lâ ilâ Burhân). Also quoted in full in Hilmi’s al-Burhan al-Azhar (p. 69-77).

[52] Part of a hadith of the Prophet r narrated from Abu Hurayra by Bukhari and Muslim.

[53] Cf. al-Shibli in Ibn Jahbal’s Refutation of Ibn Taymiyya §27 (published in full separately): “The Merciful exists from pre-eternity while the Throne was brought into being, and the Throne was established and made firm (istawâ) by the Merciful.”

[54] See Appendix entitled “Allah is Now As He Ever Was” in our translation of Ibn ‘Abd al-Salam’s al-Mulha fi I‘tiqad Ahl al-Haqq, published separately under the title The Belief of the People of Truth.

[55] Or: “He created place and all that takes place.”

[56] i.e. I am in no need of any of you.

[57] Lâ tarji‘u ilayhi sifatun lam yakun ‘alayhâ min sun‘ati al-masnû‘ât. Ibn ‘Arabi apparently allows inferred attributes which do describe Him, such as “The Far” (see §163 below and note) in contradiction of the general principle that the divine Names and Attributes are ordained and non-inferable (cf. Appendix entitled “The Names and Attributes of Allah Are Ordained and Non-Inferable” in our translation of Ibn ‘Abd al-Salam’s The Belief of the People of Truth).

[58] See our translation of Ibn Khafif’s Correct Islamic Doctrine (pub­lished in full separately) §10: “In no way does He subsist in originated matters (laysa bi mahall al-hawâdith) nor they in Him.” This is due to the mutually exclusive nature of contingency (hudûth) and incontin­gency (qidam). The former refer to whatever is created, the latter to the be­ginningless and uncreated, “and the twain never meet.”

[59] This is directed against the Mu‘tazila and those affiliated with them.

[60] The notion of “linkage”  (ta‘alluq) between the pre-eternal Attributes of Act and the acts pertaining to creation was expressed by some scholars as a distinction between two types of linkage (ta‘alluq) to the act: “beginninglessly potential” (salûhî qadîm) and “actualized in time” (tanjîzî hâdith).

[61] No such Attribute is established in the texts, but Ibn ‘Arabi here states it without contra­diction of his own precept (§145, cf. §180) that “Attributes which do not describe Him and are devised by creatures do not apply to Him” since He uses “the Far” in the same way that some have used the indefinite qualificative “Separate” (bâ’in) – like­wise not found in the Qur’an and Sunna – meaning “far and separate from crea­tion,” so that nearness in no way affects Him as it affects creatures. Al-Tabari (in his Tafsir on verse 17:79) relates from some of the Salaf a contrary position which states that Allah is not said to be “in contact with,” nor “separate from” anything. The latter is reminiscent of Abu Nu‘aym’s narration from ‘Ali in Hilya al-Awliya’ (1997 ed. 1:114 #227): “How can even the most eloquent tongues describe Him Who did not exist among things so that He could be said to be ‘separate from them’ (bâ’in)? Rather, He is described without modality, and He is (nearer to [man] than his jugular vein) (50:16).” Al-Bayhaqi reports the Ash‘ari position on the issue from Ibn Mahdi al-Tabari: The Pre-eternal One (al-Qadîm) is elevated over His Throne but nei­ther sitting on(qâ‘id) nor standing on (qâ’im) nor in contact with (mu­mâss), nor separate from (mubâyin)the Throne – meaning separate in His Es­sence in the sense of physical separation or distance. For ‘contact’ and its opposite ‘separation,’ ‘standing’ and its opposite ‘sit­ting’ are all the char­ac­ter­istics of bodies (ajsâm), whereas (Allah is One, Everlast­ing, neither begetting nor begotten, and there is none like Him.) (112:1-4) Therefore what is allowed for bodies is impermissible for Him.” Al-Bayhaqi, al-Asma’ wa al-Sifat (Kawthari ed. p. 410-411; Hashidi ed. 2:308-309). This shows with remarkable clarity that those who made it a categorical imperative to declare that “Allah is separate from creation” went to excess, although their intention was to preclude notions of indwelling. Examples of these well-founded excesses are given by Ibn Khuzayma: “Whoever does not defi­nitely confirm that Allah established Himself over His Throne above His seven heavens, separate (bâ’in) from His creation, he is a disbeliever who must be sum­moned to repent” [in al-Dhahabi’s Mukhtasar al-‘Uluw (p. 225-226)] and Sulayman ibn ‘Abd Allah ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab: “It is obligatory to declare that Allah is separate  (bâ’in) from His creation, established over His throne with­out modality or likeness or examplarity” [in al-Tawdih ‘an Tawhid al-Khallaq fi Jawab Ahl al-‘Iraq (1319/1901, p. 34, and new ed. al-Riyad: Dar Tibah, 1984)].

[62] The Prophet r said: “His veil is light, and if He removed it, the glorifications (subuhât) of His face would burn everything His eyesight fell upon.” Narrated from Abu Musa by Muslim, Ibn Majah, Ahmad, Abu ‘Awana, Abu Dawud al-Tayalisi, Ibn Abi ‘Asim, al-Ajurri, and al-Bayhaqi in al-Asma’ wa al-Sifat (Kawthari ed. p. 180-181; Hashidi ed. 1:465-466 #392-394). Al-Bayhaqi said: “The veil mentioned in this and other reports refers to creatures for they are the ones who are veiled from Him by a veil He created in them. Allah said of the disbe­lievers: (Nay, but surely on that day they will be covered from (the mercy of) their Lord) (83:15). His saying: ‘if He removed it’ means if He lifted the veil from their eyes without empowering them to see Him, they would have been burnt and would have been unable to bear it.” Al-Qurtubi in al-Asna (2:92) said: “If he had removed from them the veil, His majesty (jalâl), awe (hayba), and subjugation (qahr) would have caused everything His sight fell upon to disappear – from the Throne to the undersoil, for there is no end to His sight, and Allah knows best.” Cf. Ibn Khafif’s ‘Aqida §12: “Nor does He hide Himself(istatara) with anything created.”

[63] See Ibn ‘Abd al-Salam’s refutation of those who claimed the pre-eternality of letters and sounds in various passages of his Mulha.

[64] In al-Nihaya, entry b-l-â: “Al-Azhari said that a number of scholars glossed ubâlî as ‘loathe’ (akrah).” Meaning: “It adds nor subtracts nothing from My greatness.”

[65] Narrated from Anas by Abu Ya‘la with a chain of trustworthy narrators except for al-Hakam ibn Sinan al-Bahili who is weak, and by Ibn Marduyah; from ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Qatada al-Sulami by Ahmad and al-Hakim who declared it sahîh, and al-Dhahabi concurred; from Mu‘adh ibn Jabal by Ahmad with amunqati‘ chain missing the Successor-link; from Abu Sa‘id al-Khudri by al-Bazzar and Ibn Marduyah; from Ibn ‘Umar by al-Bazzar and al-Tabarani; from a Companion named Abu ‘Abd Allah by Ahmad in his Musnad  with a sound chain according to Ibn Hajar in al-Isaba (7:258 #10198); from Abu Musa al-Ash‘ari by al-Tabarani in al-Kabir; from Abu al-Darda’ by al-Tabarani in al-Kabir and Ahmad with a sound chain in the Musnad  according to al-Kattani. Also narrated, but without the words lâ ubâlî, from Abu Hurayra by al-Hakim al-Tirmidhi in Nawa­dir al-Usul; without mention of the handfuls, from ‘Umar by Malik in al-Muwatta’, Ahmad, Abu Dawud, al-Tirmidhi (hasan), al-Nasa’i, and others. Al-Suyuti in al-Durr al-Manthur under the verse (And remem­ber when your Lord brought forth from the Children of Adam, from their reins, their seed) (7:172) cited other narrations to that effect from Abu Umama, Hisham ibn Hakim, and other Companions. Al-Fattani in Tadhkira al-Mawdu‘at said its chain was “muddled”(mudtarib al-isnâd)  because of great varia­tions in it, which makes the narration  mutawâtir al-ma‘na or mass-narrated in its import – as opposed to its precise wording – as indicated by al-Kattani in Nazm al-Mutanathir, due to the great number of Companions that relate it.

[66] Hadith qudsi within the narration of the Prophet’s r  ascension: “The day I created the heavens and the earth I made obligatory upon you and upon your Commu­nity fifty prayers: therefore establish them, you and your Community…. Let them be five prayers every day and night, and let every prayer count as ten. That makes fifty prayers. This word of Mine shall not be changed nor shall My Book be abrogated.” See the translation of Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Alawi al-Maliki’s his collated text of the sound narrations of the Prophet’s risra’ and mi‘raj entitled al-Anwar al-Bahiyya min Isra’ wa Mi‘raj Khayr al-Bariyya translated in full in Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani’sEncyclopedia of Islamic Doctrine.

[67] For §168-173 see also Ibn Khafif, al-‘Aqida al-Sahiha §32-37: “[32] Allah is doer of what He will: [33] Injustice is not attributed to Him, [34] And He rules over His dominion as He will, without [anyone’s entitlement to] objection whatso­ever. [35] His decree is not revoked nor His judgment amended. [36] He brings near Him whomever He will without [need for] cause and He removes far from Him whomever He will without [need for] cause. [37] His will for His servants is the exact state they are in.”The Ash‘ari position is that Allah rewards and punishes without being obliged to do so by the actions of His servants (“Allah is doer of what He will”). He is free to place the disbeliever in Paradise and the believer in Hellfire without any injustice on His part (“Injustice is not attributed to Him”), since He owns all sovereignty over the heavens and the earth, and no one received any share or authority from Him to ob­ject to what He does.

The evidence for this is in the verses: (Know you not that unto Allah belongs the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth? He punishes whom He will, and forgives whom He will. Allah is Able to do all things) (5:40);(Say : Who then can do aught against Allah, if He had willed to de­stroy the Messiah son of Mary, and his mother and everyone on earth? To Allah belongs the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth and all that is between them. He creates what He will. And Allah is Able to do all things) (5:17); (The sentence that comes from Me cannot be changed, and I am in no wise a tyrant unto the slaves) (50:29). At the same time it is obligatorily known that Allah does not take back His promise to reward those who believe and do good and punish evil-doers: (But as for those who believe and do good works We shall bring them into gardens underneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide for ever. It is a promise from Allah in truth; and who can be more truthful than Allah in utterance?) (4:122). The scholars have described the former evidence as “based on reason” (dalîl ‘aqlî) and the latter as “based on law” (dalîl shar‘i), noting that it is the latter which takes precedence over the former. Cf. al-Buti, Kubra al-Yaqinat (p. 149).

[68] Narrated from Abu Bakrah al-Thaqafi, Ibn ‘Umar, Ibn Mas‘ud, and Jabir by Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, Ahmad, and al-Darimi.

[69] The Prophet r was asked by ‘A’isha – may Allah be well-pleased with her: “Will the beloved remember his beloved on the Day of Resurrection?” He replied: “On three occasions he will not: At the Balance until it either weighs for or against him; at the time the individual Records fly in every direction, so that he should be given his record either with the right hand or the left; and at the time a long neck comes out of the Fire, winding itself around them [at the Bridge over Hellfire]…” Narrated by Ahmad in his Musnad with a fair chain, ‘Abd al-Razzaq, Ibn Abi Shayba, Ibn al-Mundhir, al-Hakim who stated it is sahîh, al-Ajurri in al-Shari‘a, and ‘Abd ibn Humayd in his Musnad as stated by al-Suyuti in al-Durr al-Manthur. Abu Dawud narrates it in his Sunan without mention oftatâyur.

[70] Another possible translation is: “the interrogation of the two examiners in the grave is real; the punishment in the grave and the rais­ing of the bodies from the grave are both real; the review in the presence of Allah is real; the Basin is real; the Balance is real; the flying(tatâyur) of individual Records in every direction is real; the Bridge is real; Paradise is real; Hell­fire is real; (A host will be in the Garden, and a host of them in the Flame)(42:7) really; the agony of that day is real for one group; as for an­other group, (the Supreme Horror will not grieve them) (21:103).” Cf. Ibn Khafif’s Aqida §83: “Paradise is true; Hellfire is true; Resurrection is true; the Rendering of Accounts is true; the Balance of Deeds is true; the Bridge [over the Fire] is true; the punishment of the grave is true; and the questioning of the angels Munkar and Nakîr is true.”

The Reality and Mystery of Waswasah

By Jamiatul Ulama Gauteng

A stray thought crossing the mind is not nugatory of veneration for the Ahkaam (Commandments of the Shariah). In fact, that is a sign of perfection in Imaan and hence the Sahaabah (Radhiyallahu anhum) experienced such waswasah. When they submitted this problem to Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) saying: “Yaa Rasoolallah, we are experiencing such stray thoughts that it is better for us to burn to ashes than express these waswasah,” Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) queried and stated: “Do you really experience such thoughts? That is clear sign of your Imaan.”

He furthermore said: “Alhamdulillah, Allah Ta’ala has diverted the plot of Shaitaan to waswasah.” His reach fell short of your Aqaaid and A’maal (Beliefs and Practices).

The mystery and rationale behind these waswasah is that when a Saalik sets out on the path to Allah then Shaitaan becomes extremely vexed. Shaitaan then desires to harm this Saalik. He firstly embarks on a campaign of stopping the Saalik from Namaaz, Roza, Faraaiz and Waajibaat. In this way he schemes to harm the Deen of the Saalik. When he realizes that he has failed in this nefarious plot he plans another strategy. He then satisfies himself with inflicting physical harm and worries. Towards this end he whispers evil and obscene thoughts into the heart of the Saalik.

The Saalik becomes horrified at these stray thoughts and he grieves thinking that his Imaan is deficient. He cannot understand why these thoughts are plaguing him, whereas these thoughts are not at all harmful to his Imaan, yes they are unsettling.

Being unsettled by these thoughts also has an underlying reason to it; a misunderstanding. The Saalik thinks that these wasaawis are produced by his heart; that they stem from his heart, whereas this is wrong. These are the production of Shaitaan. Shaitaan blows these evil thoughts into the heart and mind. The heart is merely the locus and thoroughfare of these stray thoughts.

After understanding and remembering this mystery, Insha-Allah one will find no reason to become unsettled at all. In fact, waswasah will be uprooted because Shaitaan flings waswasah at a person to trouble a person. When this person doesn’t become troubled and unsettled then Shaitaan will give up his waswasah-strike.

Practical Remedy for Waswasah

So the practical thing to do when troubled by waswasah is to recite “A’uthubillahi minash Shaitaanir Rajeem”, for it is proven that these wasaawis are by the meddling of Shaitaan, and with Ta’ awwuth (reciting, A’uthu…), in fact with any Zikr, Shaitaan is repulsed.

Furthermore, when one engrosses oneself in Zikr, and complete engrossment in two things at the same time is not possible, then one will not be disturbed by the waswasah. Assuming for a moment that waswasah does not cease even in this case and one is overwhelmed then this is also a type of Mujaahadah (spiritual discipline). There is pure benefit then too. One should, therefore, not become grieved.

A person who concerns himself with repelling waswasah and gaining pleasure from his Ibaadat and Zikr –which is the case with most Saalikeen today –such a person makes Ibaadat and Zikr for personal pleasure. Such a person is not offering his Ibaadat and Zikr for the pleasure of Allah Ta’ala.

The second remedy for waswasah is Zikr in general, as mentioned above. When under a waswasah-attack, engage in Zikr. The Hadeeth says: “When he (the Mu-min) engages in Zikr then Shaitaan retreats. And when he (the Mu-min) becomes forgetful (of the Zikr of Allah Ta’ala) then Shaitaan throws waswasah.”

A Test by Allah Ta’ala

Another hikmat (underlying reason) of waswasah is that it is a test by Allah Ta’ala of the Saalik. The test is to see whether the Saalik’s Ibaadat was for carnal pleasure or steadfastness even under the duress of waswasah; where does his gaze go to when afflicted by waswasah? Therefore, do not become troubled at all with these wasaawis, and continue with your work.

These wasaawis are not nugatory of one’s closeness to Allah Ta’ala. Such a person is close unto Allah.

As matter of fact, these wasaawis are not even in the heart, although they may appear to be so. In actual fact, they are out of the heart. It is like a fly sitting on a mirror. The onlooker may perceive the fly to be in the mirror, whereas it is outside the mirror. Similarly, the waswasah is outside the heart. Where there is Zikrullah in the heart there is no scope for waswasah there. Such a Mu-min’s heart is practically sealed and protected from waswasah.

Similarly, waswasah does not pass through the heart of a Zaakir (one who observes Zikr dutifully). Whatever feeling he gets of waswasah is the reflection of waswasah.

Another Strategy

One Buzrug says that as treatment of this malady one should become very happy because this is a sign of Imaan, for Nabi (Alaihis Salaam) said: “That is a clear sign of Imaan.”

A thief breaks into a home when there is some wealth there and hence waswasah is experienced by Saaliheen (pious people). Those who are caught in fisq and fujoor (transgression and shameless acts) are not bothered by waswasah.

The rationale behind becoming happy at the waswasah is that it severs the waswasah. Shaitaan’ s desire by striking a person with waswasah is to make the person sad and dejected. So, if instead of that he (the one who experiences waswasah) becomes happy then Shaitaan will give up.

Subhaanallah! What a remedy! You can understand from this the level of perfection in the Ilm of the illustrious Fuqaha and Soofiyah.

(From Al-Ikhlaas Part One of Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi Rahmatullahi Alaih)