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Fatawa from America / Were Fudayl bin `Iyad and Ibrahim bin Adham from among the Imams of Sufism?

Were Fudayl bin `Iyad and Ibrahim bin Adham from among the Imams of Sufism?

publish date : 2014-04-04 | Views : 4589
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Were Fudayl bin `Iyad and Ibrahim bin Adham from among the Imams of Sufism, and what is your opinion of the books of Imam Ghazali (may Allah have mercy on him)? هل الفضيل بن عياض وإبراهيم بن أدهم من أئمة الصوفية؟

Praise be to Allah, and may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah, his family and his companions.

As to what follows:

In response to your question, we say, and with Allah Almighty lies all success:

Those who attribute themselves to Sufism, or those who have been attributed to it, are of two kinds:

The first kind: The senior and early Shuyukh of Sufism and the Imams of the path, such as Fudayl bin `Iyad, Ibrahim bin Adham, Abu Sulayman al-Darani, Junayd bin Muhammad, Abdul-Qadir al-Jaylani and others similar to them. These Shuyukh gave special attention to the actions of the heart, zuhd (asceticism) and worship.

Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) stated in explaining their way and methodology, “They used to speak about the actions of the heart and spiritual states in detailed, all-inclusive, clarifying and unrestricted words; without any particular order, nor by limiting the spiritual stations to any known number. They were more honorable than this and their concern was more lofty and noble. They were merely advocates of citing wisdom, knowledge, cleansing of the heart, purification of the soul and correcting dealings. This is why their words were few but blessed, and the words of those who came later were much and prolonged but with little blessing.” [Madarij al-Salikin, vol. 1, p. 139]

Also, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Blessing comes from Allah.” [Bukhari] So there is no greater blessing upon the slave, nor greater cure for the diseases of his heart, nor greater reformation of the souls than the words of Allah Almighty and His Messenger (peace be upon him) for the one who reflects upon them and gives them special attention:

“Then do they not reflect upon the Qur’an, or are there locks upon their hearts?” [Muhammad 47:24]

The fairest statement to make regarding these Shuyukh is what Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah said regarding them:

 “The truth is that they were diligent in the obedience of Allah, just like others among the people of obedience to Allah were diligent. So among them were those foremost in deeds and close to Allah in accordance with their diligence, and among them were those who were moderate among the people of the right hand.” [Majmu` al-Fatawa, vol. 11, p. 18]

However, since some of the ways of these Shuyukh – with their diligence – were away from the truth, and contrary to what the companions and predecessors were upon, the scholars disparaged some of them and criticized their way.

Furthermore, becoming preoccupied with bid`ahs causes the heart to become ill and the Sunnah to die. Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said, “The legislations of Allah are nutrition for the hearts; whenever they take nutrition from bid`ahs, there remains no extra space in them for the sunnahs. Thus, it is the same as taking nutrition from unhealthy food.” [Iqtida’ al-Sirat al-Mustaqim, vol. 2, p. 597]

The second kind: The extreme among the Sufis; they merely branched off of the first kind, for bid`as start with slight deviation, then the rupture widens and discrepancy magnifies. The people of this kind wore the garments of zuhd (asceticism) and wara` (piety) outwardly, while fathoming deviation and disbelief inwardly. Thus, they brought forth every calamity and gathered every kind of bid`ah until they reached the point of leaving the religion of Islam. Rather they are worse than the Jews and Christians.

Among the leaders of this kind are Husayn bin Mansur al-Hallaj who claimed divinity for himself. The scholars of Islam declared him a disbeliever, and thus he was killed an apostate; may Allah give him what he deserves. Also, among them are Ibn Sab`in, Ibn al-Farid and Ibn `Arabi. All of these are among the most senior of the misguided and the leaders of the callers to the Hellfire. We ask Allah for well-being in religion and worldly affairs.

Between these two kinds are a large number who attribute themselves to Sufism, among which are the extreme and others not so extreme, each working according to his own way. The saved is he who holds on to the Qur’an and Sunnah, for they are the ship of Nuh; whoever boards it is saved. We ask Allah to save us from the ways of destruction. And Allah knows best.

As for Ghazali, his books are not free of calamities, bid`ahs and deviations, because he would frequently move about among various schools of bid`ah, and he would not give special attention to the methodology of the Salaf. However, at the end of his life, he returned to the way of the Salaf and abandoned what he had previously been upon, and it is said that he passed away with Sahih Bukhari upon his chest. So all praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds.

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