Monday, April 21, 2014

Misconception about Sufism

Sufism, the Mysticism of Islam (Tasawwuf) is not a religion; it is ‘Tariqat’, spiritual way of life. Sufism strictly follows the principles of Islam. A famous Sufi saint Hazrat Ali Hujweri Dataganj Baksh said that as the light cannot be separated from sun, Shariat cannot be separated from Tariqat. All the famous Sufi Saints have lived their lives according to ‘Shariat’ (Divine Law), they were themselves great Alims (Islamic Scholars) therefore they have followed Islamic principles very strictly. There is no justification in the propaganda and campaign by some people about the Sufi Shrines, and the allegation that graves are worshiped at Sufi Muslims Shrines is absolutely incorrect and false. Sufis who are real Muslims and have strong faith in Islam do not worship graves and strictly follow the Islamic Shariat. Sufis believe that performing ‘Sajda’ in front of graves with the intention (Niat) of worship (Ibadat) is ‘Haram’ and forbidden in Islamic Shariat. They are well educated people and are fully aware what is wrong and what is right in Islamic Shariat. There is no need to take certificate from anybody for declaring themselves to be the true Muslims.They only express their love and respect for the Sufi saints who are Aulia- Alllah means the friends of God (Almighty Allah).In Surah Younus (Ayat No.62) the Holy Quran says “Ala Inna Aulia Allahe La Khaufun Alaihim Walahum Yahzanoon”.Translation: Now surely the friends of Allah, they shall have no fear or shall they grieve. Allah’s all-embracing knowledge and constant watchful care over all His creatures, may be a source of fear to sinners, but there is no fear for those whom He honours with His love and friendship,-neither in this world nor in the world to come.(commentary from Holy Quran).

                                                                       Ayat-Surah Younus,Holy Quran
                                                                      In view of Sufis even the ‘Kaaba’ cannot be worshiped and no one can offer ‘Sajda’ for Kaaba. Because worship (Ibadat) and Sajda i.e. placing forehead on the ground for someone with the intention of worship except Almighty Allah is haram and forbidden in Islam. But Kaaba is Baitullah i.e. the House of Almighty Allah and therefore deserves highest respect and honour. So, when we kiss the Kaaba, it means we express our love and respect for Allah who is only one to be worshiped. Just imagine, when Sufis do not offer Sajda for Kaaba because Sajda is only meant for Allah, then how they can perform Sajda infront of any grave with the intention of worship which they believe haram and forbidden in Islamic Shariat. They kiss the holy Shrine in order to express their love and respect for Aulia -Allah. According to the Hadis Sharif of Bukhari “the action of a person depends on his intention (Niat).Intention (Niat) is very important in Islami Shariat, which shows what a person actually intends to do. Holy Kaaba the house of Allah is a place for worship for Allah but the Kaaba itself cannot be worshiped by any Muslim. Any Muslim can never imagine that Kaaba can be worshiped except Allah. Allah has made Kaaba the Qibla for Muslims and it is incumbent upon every Muslim to offer Salat (Namaz) facing towards the direction of Holy Kaaba. Therefore Muslims have to obey the command of Almighty Allah, his holy Quran and the command of His beloved Prophet Hazrat Mohammed Rasool Allah (Peace be upon him).
     A large number of non Muslims also visit the Sufi Shrines in order to pay their respect to the Sufi saints. Whatever they do, is according to their own faith and belief. They have great respect for the Sufi Saints and feel satisfaction in visiting the Sufi shrines. Just like Muslims they do not take shoes inside but leave them outside the gate of the shrine due to great respect of the saint and keeping in view the dignity, sanctity and honour of the holy shrines.
 Some people become so intolerant that they attack destroy and desecrate the graves and shrines of Sufi saints. They do not know that the destruction and desecration of graves is also forbidden in Islam. Islam is not a religion for few persons who dictate, do this and do that, but it is a religion for the whole mankind created by Almighty Allah. Therefore Sufis worship Allah the only one who really deserves to be worshiped.
Muslims have to follow the command of the Great Prophet of Islam Hazrat Mohammed (Peace be upon him) the beloved Messenger of Almighty Allah and the dictate of the Holy Quran and not the dictate of few misguided people who try to impose their ideas on how Islam should be practised. There are different Schools of thought in Muslim Ummah. The followers of one school of thought cannot compel the others to adopt the principles of their school of thought. Every Muslim is free to adopt any School of thought like Hanafi, Shafai, Hunmbali and Maliki.
In a Fatwa (Verdict) a respected scholar and Head of Jamia Al-Azhar University, Cairo, Egypt Hazrat Shaikh al-Akbar Mahmood Shaltoot has said that “Islam does not require a Muslim to follow a particular Madh’hab (School of thought). Rather, we say: every Muslim has the right to follow one of the schools of thought which has been correctly narrated and its verdicts have been compiled in its books”.
   “Muslims must know this, and ought to refrain from unjust prejudice to any particular school of thought, since the religion of Allah and His Divine Law (Shari’ah) was never restricted to a particular school of thought”.
The above are the relevant excerpts from the Fatwa (Verdict) announced on July 6, 1959 from the Head of Al-Azhar University and was subsequently published in many publications in the Middle East.
Sufi Muslims believe in love and respect of the Great Prophet, his Ahle-Bait, his Sahaba (companions) and Aulia Allah. They seek for direct relations with Almighty Allah in elevated religious feeling or ecstasy. Love and respect is not forbidden in Islam, everyone has a respect for someone, a son for his father, a student for his master or teacher, a Mureed (Disciple) for his Piro-Murshid, a citizen for the Head of State or King and so on. In some Muslim countries the people kiss the hand or shoulder of the King. But when a Mureed or disciple of a spiritual master or Piro-Murshid kisses the hand of his Piro-murshid then it become 'Bidat' or 'Shirk'. Why? Islamic Shariat is same for every one whether he is a King or sweeper.
Hajre-Aswad’ the black stone in Kaaba (Mecca) is just like a stone but deserve great respect. Muslims kiss the Hajre-Aswad because they believe that it has come from Paradise (Jannat) and it was also kissed by the Great Prophet of Islam (Peace be upon him). Similarly ‘Muqame –Ibrahim’ is also a stone which bears the foot print (impression) of great Prophet of Allah, Hazrat Syedna Ibrahim Khaleelullah. But in Holy Quran Allah has ordered the Muslims to offer prayer (Salat or Namaz) near Muqame-Ibrahim and Muslims obey the command of Allah. So anything which is related to Allah deserves respect. Therefore Sufi Saints who are Aulia- Allah (Friends of Allah) also deserve great respect. Offering respect or love to someone is not worship. Offering prayer, Salat or Namaz near Muqame- Ibrahim or kissing the ‘Hajre-Aswad’ does not mean that Muslims worship the stone but in fact they only worship Allah. Similarly kissing the shrines of Aulia Allah is merely an expression of love and respect for the Sufi saints or Aulia Allah and does not constitute worship which is absolutely forbidden in Islam.
Some people who are misguided and don’t know the real Islam are defaming the name of the religion Islam by their wrongful acts. They should know that the very meaning of Islam is peace and not violence. In Holy Quran Surah Al-Baqarah(The Cow) Ayat No.27, Allah has said, “Wayufsiduna Fil-ard Ulaeka Humul-Khasirun” “Those people who create violence (Fisad) and mischief on the earth will suffer a great loss”.
                                                                             Ayat,Surah Al Baqarah 
 What is happening today in some parts of the world is destruction of Sufi Shrines and desecration of graves which is not justified at all and is against the tenets of Islam. Islam teaches its followers to be tolerant. Allah knows very well to those people who create violence on this earth, they may move and roam free in this world but on the Day of Judgement they will be caught and punished; there will be no one to protect them except Allah.
The Grand Imam of Jamia Al-Azhar Sharif, a world fame Islamic institution of Egypt, Dr. Ahmed Al-Tayeb has also criticised the attacks on Shrines of Sufi Saints, saying that, this action violates Islam.
Source:  Al-Ahram Daily.

Sufi Shrines of Aulia-Allah are Holy Places and deserve great respect.

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