SUFISM IS NOT ISLAM, SO WHAT IS IT?

A Sufi sheikh says non-Muslims can embrace Sufism without becoming Muslims. Sufism is therefore not same as Islam. Tap link for proof

In cyberspace, one can view images and videos of Sufi mystics and elders dancing in rhythmic forms to the background of vibrant melodies. Disturbing images of mystic Sufi elders jabbing their heads with knives or submitting themselves to various means of torture are all too common as well. One interested in Islam may get a wrong idea about Islam by thinking that ‘Sufism’ is just a synonym of Islam.

The question that arises, are they really Muslims, and are they practicing Islam? Though a tiny minority, Sufis can be found in many countries. Sufism is divided into ‘orders’; each differs from the other in terms of belief and practice. Among the surviving groups today are the Tijaani order, the Naqshabandi order, the Qadiri order and the Shadthili order.

Sh. Ibn Taymiyyah, mentions that the first appearance of Sufism was in Basrah, Iraq, where some people went to extremes in worship and in avoiding the worldly life. Ibn al-Jawzi, wrote in his book ‘Talbis Iblis’ about the origin of the name used by this group, saying: ‘They are called by this name in relation to the first person who dedicated his life to worship around the Ka’bah, whose name was Sufah.’.Those who wanted to emulate him called themselves ‘Sufis’.

Ibn al-Jawzi also said: ‘they would wear woolen clothes.’ Wool in Arabic is called ‘soof’ and woolen clothes were the sign of an ascetic during those times. In any case, the word Sufi was not present at the time of Prophet Muhammad and his companions instead first appeared at about 200 Hijrah.


Zuhd does not mean wearing scruffy clothing, withdrawing from people and keeping away from society, or fasting constantly. The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) is the leader of all zaahids (ascetics) but he would wear new clothes; adorn himself to meet delegations, for Jumu’ah and for Eid; mix with people and call them to do good and teach them about their religion; and he forbade his companions to fast constantly. Rather zuhd means shunning that which is haraam and that which Allaah hates; avoiding shows of luxury and overindulging in worldly pleasures; focusing on doing acts of worship; and making the best preparation for the Hereafter. The best explanation of that is the life of the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam). Standing Committee for Academic Research and Issuing Fatwas 


In its earliest form, Sufi teachings placed emphasis on the spiritual aspects of Islam. Overtime, infamous Sufi elders introduced practices foreign to Islam e.g. grave worship, dancing, playing music, and even consuming heroin, hashish etc.

Series of concepts and practices that range from poverty, seclusion, deception, depriving the soul, singing and dancing; based on a mix of shirk from religions and philosophies such as Greek philosophies, Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Hinduism coloured with Islam. It is simply Dogmatic “Mysticism/Shirk”. Read on and be amazed.


‘Willful and total submission to the Sheikh’, is probably the motto of Sufism. From a glance, it is clear that a special and complete bond is formed between the head of the Sufi order (the ‘Sheikh’) and the Mureed (follower).

Basically, the follower gives a pledge of allegiance, whereby he pledges to obey the Sheikh, and in turn the Sheikh promises to deliver the follower from every problem or calamity that may befall him. This is against the Quran “And every soul earns not [blame] except against itself, and no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another.” (Q7:164). Once a follower agrees, he is blessed and assigned a set of Dhikr (chants). The follower is to carry on with his life in a manner that is laid out by the Sufi order. If a conflict arises between his duties within the order and outside duties, the follower is to act upon the instructions of the Sheikh absolutely. The follower must never argue with the Sheikh, nor ask him for a proof in relation to the actions he does.

As Muslims we believe that all acts of worship are ‘Tawqeefiyah’, i.e. not subject to opinion; thus must be substantiated with textual evidences that are both authentic and decisive. God, Almighty, tells us: “Say (to them), ‘produce your proof if you are truthful.’” (Q 2:111)

We believe that there is no middle-man between God and His slaves. We are to call unto Him directly. God tells us: “And your Lord says, ‘Call upon Me; I will respond to you.’ Indeed, those who disdain My worship will enter Hell [rendered] contemptible.” (Q40:60)

In Sufism, the Sheikh is thought to be ‘the inspired man to whose eyes the mysteries of the hidden are unveiled, for the Sheikhs see with the light of God and know what thoughts and confusions are in man’s hearts. Nothing can be concealed from them.’ Ibn Arabi, claimed that he used to receive direct revelation from God, similar to the way that Prophet Muhammad did, and was quoted as saying: “Some works I wrote at the command of God sent to me in sleep, or through mystical revelations.” M. Ibn Arabi, “The Bezels of Wisdom,” pp.3

“And who is more disbelieving than he who forges a lie against God, or says, ‘It has been revealed to me,’ when nothing has been revealed to him?”(Q 6.93)


This is a ceremony, which is common among all Sufi Orders. The Sheikh and the follower hold hands and close their eyes in solemn meditation. The follower wilfully and wholeheartedly pledges complete and unconditional allegiance, obedience and loyalty to the Sheikh, the order and never to walk away. After this, the Sheikh recites:

“Verily, those who take the allegiance to you take it to Allah.” (Q 48:10)

The follower is then given his specific Dhikr. The Sheikh asks the follower: “Have you accepted me as your Sheikh and spiritual guide before God, Almighty?” In reply, the follower is to say: “I have accepted,” and the Sheikh responds saying: “And we have accepted.” Both of them recite the Testimony of Faith and the ceremony is ended by the follower kissing the Sheik’s hand. This entire ceremony was unknown during the Prophet’s life and the best three generations that preceded him. So, Sufism, is a binding order that strips one of free thought and personal discretion and puts him at the mercy of the Sheikh of the order… as it has been said by some Sufi elders, ‘one must be with their Sheikh as a dead person is while being washed’, i.e. one should not argue, or oppose the opinion of the Sheikh and must display total obedience and submission to him.

The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) also said: “Verily, the best of speech is the Book of God, and the best of guidance is the guidance of (Prophet) Muhammad and the evil of all religious matters are the innovations. Every innovation (in religion) is a bid’ah and every bid’ah is misguidance, and every misguidance will lead to the Fire.” (Saheeh Muslim)

Imam Malik, may Allah grant him His Mercy, said: “He who introduces an innovation in the religion of Islam and deems it a good thing in effect claims by that Muhammad betrayed (the trust of conveying) the Divine Message.”


It is also known as the ‘Wird’ and in Sufism it is the practice of repeating the name of God, and the repetition of a set number of invocations. These invocations may include beseeching the dead or seeking help from other than God for needs that only God Almighty can grant.

Ahmad at-Tijani, a Sufi Elder, claimed that the wird was withheld by Prophet Muhammad; he did not teach it to any of his Companions. At-Tijani claimed that the Prophet knew that a time would come when the wird would be made public but the person who would do that was not yet in existence. As a result, Sufis believe that there is an ongoing chain of transmission between Prophet Muhammad and their current Sheikh. Islam, on the other hand, is very simple; there is no need for intermediaries or any saints between man and God, and one is only to submit and surrender themselves to God, Almighty. Dhikr is categorized by the Sufi elders into three categories:

A. Dhikr of the commoners, in which they are to repeat ‘La ilaaha ill-Allah Muhammad-ur-Rasoolullah’  B. Dhikr of the high class, which is to repeat the name of God, ‘Allah’.C. Dhikr of the elite, which is to repeat the Divine pronoun ‘Hu’, (i.e. He).

At times, the Dhikr is chanted in melodic hymns with eyes closed, rich music may be played (to some this is essential); moreover, some will dance before the Sheikh while saying the Dhikr. Many a time the Dhikr includes open polytheism e.g. making Sujud to the Sheikh, his grave or his picture etc


Allah says: “There is nothing like unto Him and He is the all-Hearing and the all-Seeing.” (Q 42:11)

God is separate from His creation and not a part of it. He is the Creator, and all else is His creation.

Sufis belief in  Al-Hulool: This belief denotes that God, Almighty, dwells in His creation. Al-It’tihaad: This belief denotes that God, Almighty, and the creation are one, united presence. Wahdatul-Wujood: This belief denotes that one should not differentiate between the Creator and the creation, for both the creation and the Creator are one entity.

Mansoor al-Hallaaj, a figure revered by Sufis, said: “I am He Whom I love,” he exclaimed, “He Whom I love is I; we are two souls co-inhabiting one body. If you see me you see Him and if you see Him you see me.”

Muhiyddin Ibn Arabi, another revered Sufi, was infamous for his statements: “What is under my dress is none but God,” “The slave is the Lord and the Lord is a slave.”. These beliefs strongly contradict the strict monotheism of Islam. These cardinal Sufi doctrines are from Christian or the Hindu belief of reincarnation. S. R. Sharda in his book, ‘Sufi Thought’ said: “Sufi literature of the post-Timur period shows a significant change in thought content. It is pantheistic. After the fall of Muslim orthodoxy from power at the centre of India for about a century, due to the invasion of Timur, Sufism became free from the control of the Muslim orthodoxy and consorted with Hindu saints, who influenced them to an amazing extent. The Sufi adopted Monism and wifely devotion from the Vaishnava Vedantic school and Bhakti and Yogic practices from the Vaishnava Vedantic school. By that time, the popularity of the Vedantic pantheism among the Sufis had reached its zenith.”


 Some say Muhammad (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) was ignorant of the knowledge the Sufi Elders possess. Al-Bustami, a Sufi Sheikh said: “We have entered a sea of knowledge at the shore of which the Prophets and Messengers stood.”. Others ascribe divinity to the Prophet saying that all of creation was created from the ‘light’ of Prophet Muhammad (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam). Some even believe that he was the first of creation and that he is resting upon the throne of God, which is the belief of Ibn Arabi and other Sufis who came after him.


Sufis in general believe that one should not ask God to grant them Paradise; they even claim that the Wali (guardian) should not seek it, for it is a sign of one’s lack of intellect. To them ‘Paradise’ holds an immaterial meaning, which is to receive the knowledge of the unseen from God and to fall in love with Him. According to them, a true Sufi is not to be fearful of the Fire. Some even believe that if a Sufi elder were to spit on the Fire, it would be put out, as Abu Yazid al-Bustami claimed.


In Sufism, studying the exegesis of the Quran or pondering the meanings of its verses is discouraged, and at times, even forbidden. Sufis claim that every verse of the Quran has an outward meaning and an inward meaning. The inward meaning is understood solely by the Sufi elders. “(This is) a Scripture that We have revealed unto you, full of blessing, that they may ponder its revelations, and that men of understanding may reflect.” (Q 38:29).


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