THE SUBJECT MATTER OF SUFISM

The variety of definitions and explanations that have been provided of Sufism indicate the breadth of its subject matter. It might therefore be said that the subject matter of Sufism is as vast and deep as an ocean; for it covers everything related to the human soul and spirit. Essentially, it sees to the spiritual states passed by the wayfaring disciple during his spiritual journey, in the beings with whom he meantime gets in touch with, in the experiences he encounters and in the ways he finds, knows, and serves his Lord; though this would only be brief number of the otherwise great breadth of topics the subject matter of Sufism includes. Still, at the risk of being succinct, we may nonetheless proceed to expand on the primary subject matter of the Sufi path.

Above all, the Sufi path engages in the spiritual states and stations a disciple passes by in the process of perfecting his unripe spirit to ripeness, by means of purifying his heart and soul. In other words, Sufism deals with the exact ways of purifying the heart and soul and obtaining inner and outer enlightenment, to enable the actions of the Sufi to accord with Divine pleasure and thereby grant him eternal happiness. The gist of this consists in embodying an exceptional moral conduct and tapping in to the knowledge of spiritual realities. At its core, Sufism thus seeks to ensure one tastes the zest of ihsan, of internalizing faith, and enjoying its indescribable pleasure.

To put it in another way, the Sufi path is about the principles and ways to understand the Divine wisdoms, secrets and intentions concealed in names and attributes of Allah, glory unto Him, as well as their abounding manifestations throughout the universe. In this context, Sufism talks about notions related to the unseen, the spirit, the heart and the soul; as well as spiritual experiences like insight (kashf), inspiration (ilham), spiritual witnessing (mushahada), ecstasy (wajd), and love (‘ishq), and no less, the spiritual states attained as a result of undergoing these experiences.

In short, Sufism is concerned with imparting the spiritual ability to behold and witness of the names and attributes of the Lord and to acquire Divine knowledge (marifatullah), offering man a real insight into the uni- verse, the Quran, as well as himself, by taking him through a journey at the end of which awaits spiritual maturity.

  • Excerpt from the book, “SUFISM: A PATH TOWARDS THE INTERNALIZATION OF FAITH (IHSÂN)”

The Exemplar beyond Compare: Prophet Muhammad Mustafa ﷺ

The fascinating system that is the universe, owes its existence to the Light of Muhammad ﷺ. Flows of Divine Power perceivable throughout the universe and numerous patterns of beauty to be seen in full view are simply reminders, glimpses of that Light. As alluded to in the below excerpt from a hadith, the only reason the heartfelt repentance of Adam (عليه السلام) was accepted was because the dust from which he was created had a grain of the dust of the Prophet ﷺ:

“‘Lord…I ask Your forgiveness for the sake of Muhammad!’ pleaded Adam (عليه السلام) after realizing his error for committing the blunder that led to his expulsion from Paradise.

Then Allah, glory unto Him, asked:

How do you know Muhammad when I have not yet created him?’

‘When You created me,’ said Adam (عليه السلام) ‘and breathed into me from Your Spirit, I looked up and saw the words La ilaha ill’Allah Muhammadun Rasulullah inscribed above the pillars of the Throne. I knew there and then that You would only mention the most beloved of all creation next to Your Name.’

Thereupon Allah, glory unto Him, declared:

‘You have spoken the truth, Adam! Surely, he is the most beloved for Me of all creation! So implore me for his sake; and since you have, I hereby forgive you. Had Muhammad not been, you would not have been created!’(1)

1510459_424714264345407_5737954368628377027_n

Submitting the name of Muhammad ﷺ as a means, a wasilah in his repentance, Adam (عليه السلام) was able to receive Divine Amnesty. The Muhammedan Light then proceeded forth, becoming temporarily embodied in Ibrahim (عليه السلام), whereby the fire of Nimrod was tamed to coolness and pleasance; and as a pearl enclosed in the wrapping that was of Ismail (عليه السلام), it induced the sending of a ram as sacrifice from the Heavens.

As can be seen, even prophets made the most of Divine Mercy through his name. There were even those like Musa (عليه السلام) who yearned to become simply a number among his ummah, just to reap the blessings of his adherence, as illustrated in a hadith narrated by Qatadah ibn Numan (May Allah be pleased with him):

“Musa (عليه السلام) once prayed:

‘My Lord…On the Tablets (2) You have given me, I see there is mentioned a virtuous nation brought forth from among man- kind, enjoining good and forbidding evil. Let them, oh Lord, be my nation!’

‘They are Ahmad’s nation!’ replied Allah, glory unto Him.

‘Lord…I see made mention in the Tablets a nation last to appear on Earth yet poised to enter Paradise first. Let them be mine!’ then pleaded Musa (عليه السلام).

‘They are Ahmad’s’, the Almighty responded once more.

‘The Tablets mention a nation who recite their Scriptures by heart, from memory, whereas those before needed their written Scriptures in front of them to read and would not remember a letter of it once their Scriptures had vanished. You have without a doubt given this nation, my Lord, a power to memorize and protect, of a kind You have not given any nation before. So let them be mine!’

‘They are Ahmad’s’, declared the Almighty once again.

‘My Lord,’ continued Musa (عليه السلام). ‘Mentioned there is a nation, who believe both what has been revealed to them and before them, who persevere against all kinds of deviance and the one-eyed impostor Dajjal. Please, let them be mine!’

‘But they are Ahmad’s’, stated Allah, glory unto Him.

‘The Tablets refer to a nation, my Lord, who are given a reward just for intending to do a good deed, even if they do not carry through with it, and if they do, are rewarded ten to seven hundred times in return. I beg to You to make them mine!’

‘They are Ahmad’s nation’, Allah declared.

Thereupon Musa (عليه السلام) put the Tablets he had been holding aside, and pleaded:

‘Then my Lord, make me member of Ahmad’s nation!’” (3)

Thus each ring of the chain of prophets, each a flame of guidance in their own right, were auspicious harbingers of the coming of Muhammad Mustafa (عليه السلام), sent as mercy to the entire realm of being.

10868183_607370216033963_4340301326411437413_n

And At long last, in the year 571, on the Monday morning of the 12th of Rabiulawwal, the anxiously anticipated Light arrived at the world of manifestation to honor the entire extent of space and time, from the bountiful marriage of Abdullah and Aminah (May Allah be pleased with them).

Had the Blessed Prophet ﷺ, the epitome of all virtues, not made his honorable arrival to the world, mankind would have been left struggling in the throes of oppression and brutality until the end of time, leaving the weak captive at the hands of the strong. The pendulum would have swung in the favor of evil, at the expense of balance. Earth would have been a haven for oppressors and tyrants, a sentiment elegantly reverberated in the poem:

Messenger, had you not have come,
Roses would not have bloomed,
Nightingales would not have sung,
To Adam, the names would have forever remained unknown And left without meaning, Being would have been left to mourn…

Mawlana Rumi قدسسره, that great voice of Truth, propounds the degree of gratitude we ought to feel for the Noble Prophet ﷺ, who for a life time endured the most unthinkable of hard- ships to shatter the idols and overthrow oppression:

“You, who today enjoys being a Muslim; know that had it not been for the supreme effort of our one and only Ahmad ﷺ, and his resolve in smashing the idols, you too would have been an idolater like your forefathers.”

tumblr_mz5o6pv7yB1ql5rivo1_500

References:

(1) Hakim, al-Mustadrak ala’s-Sahîhayn, Beirut 1990, II, 672/4228.

(2) Pages of the Torah.

(3) Tabarî, Jâmiu’l-bayân an tawîli âyi’l-Qur’ân, Beirut 1995, IX, 87-88; Ibn Kathîr, Tafsîru’l-Qur’âni’l-Azîm, I-IV, Beirut 1988, II, 259, (in the commentary of A‘râf, 154).

-An Excerpt from the book “The Exemplar beyond Compare”

 

1000 Dinars

Abu Huraira (radiAllahu anhu) relates the following hadith which is very telling:

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ told us of the beautiful state of a person from the sons of Israel. That person had asked for a loan of a thousand dinars from another person. The one who was asked for the loan said:

“Bring me your witnesses and I will give you the money in
front of them”.

The one who was asking for the loan replied:

“Allah is enough of a witness”. The lender then said:

“In that case bring me a guarantor”. The borrower said:

“Allah is enough of a guarantor”. The lender then said:

“You have spoken the truth” and gave him the money for a particular term.

The man then went on a sea trip and met his needs. Then, in order to return and pay the man back in the term that they had agreed upon, he searched for a boat to take him back, but he could not find one. In desperation, he found a wooden plank and carved out its centre. Into the hole he placed the thousand dinars together with a note addressed to the lender. Then he re-covered the hole and went to the seashore:

“O Allah! You know that I borrowed a thousand dinars from so and so. When he asked me for a witness I told him that “Allah was enough for a witness”. And he was content with You as a witness. And when he asked me for a guarantor, I told him: “Allah is enough as a guarantor”. And he was content with You as his guarantor. Now I have struggled to find a boat, but have not been able to find one. So I am entrusting this to You”. Then he threw the plank of wood into the sea. The wooden plank floated upon the sea and then disappeared from view.

1440483711_360e3d72d9

The man then parted from there and continued to search for a boat.

Meanwhile the lender was awaiting a boat to bring back his money. There was no boat but he found the wooden plank which contained his money. He took it to use it in his house. When he sawed it apart he came across the letter and the money.

A little while later, the borrower of the money found a boat and returned to his hometown. Thinking of the possibility that the man did not find the plank with the money, he went to the man, taking a thousand dinars with him.

“I searched continuously for a boat to bring back your money. However I could not find one before the boat that brought me back now”. The lender of the money said to him”

“Did you not send me anything”.

“I told you that I searched for a boat but could not find one”.

The lender said:
“Allah Most High paid me back that money in your place and brought it to me in a plank of wood as reward for your sincerity. Consequently the thousand dinars that you have brought now is yours. Now you can return in peace having been reunited with your thousand dinars”. (Bukhari, Kefalet I, Buyu 10).

When Allah is a guarantor of an affair, the seemingly impossible can take place easily. What befalls the servant is to trust in him sincerely and in truth…

Rely upon Allah
Submit and find peace

-An excerpt from “Civilizations of virtue 2”.

Jami is “Ishq” and Ishq is “Jami”

Following is a great couplet from the poetry of Maulana Jami (Alaihi Rahma) , a great lover of the Holy Prophet ﷺ.

YaRasulallah

O Messenger of God! If only like the dog of the Companions of the Cave,
I could be in Paradise among your Companions.
Is it right that their dog is in Paradise while I am in Hell?
He was the dog of those Companions; I am the dog of yours!

The above couplet reminds of another great verse which goes something like;

Oh Holy Prophet, would that your dog was called Jami,
You would call for your dog and I would come running.

Subhan Allah! Such poetry is an inspiration for the seekers of the truth as well as shows us a way of true love.

FORGIVENESS WHEN IT IS APPROPRIATE…

We should remember that forgiving all kinds of faults should not be considered as a merit. Forgiveness is a subject only in faults committed in personal matters. There are some crimes committed against society, religion and sacred things, which cannot be tolerated. In such cases, punishment is required in order to rehabilitate the criminals, establish justice and distinguish what is right and what is wrong. Otherwise forgiving these crimes will be a greater oppression to the society.

Aisha (RadiAllahu Anha) , the wife of Allah’s Apostleﷺ, told about Prophet’sﷺ approach towards forgiveness the following:

“Whenever heﷺ had to choose between two things heﷺ adopted the easier one, provided it was not sin, but if it was any sin heﷺ was the one who was the farthest from it of the people; and Allah’s Messengerﷺ never took revenge from anyone because of his personal grievance, unless what Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, had made inviolable had been violated.” 

(Muslim, Faḍāil, 79; Abū Dawūd, Kitāb al-Adab, 4)

Just like inappropriate anger causes mischief and disorder among people, not getting angry when it is necessary is moral weakness which bears similar results. To be able to get angry for the sake of Allah, when it is necessary, is a requirement of faith. For instance anger against the enemy in the battlefield is manifestation of the excitement of faith in the heart and a sign of piety and patriotism. Showing anger against the crimes committed about the matters of the rights of the society, religious and public values is an indicator of the quality of one’s faith.

The Messenger of Allah’s ﷺ life is full of manifestations of such merits. He ﷺ not only forgave the sinners in personal matters but also he treated them with goodness.

“Love the belovedﷺ, because he loves you…”

Love for the Prophetﷺ is in truth pain, but it is such a sweet pain that you want more and more. Loving the Prophetﷺ will break your heart; you will yearn to be with himﷺ, speak with him, just sit and look at himﷺ. It is this very love that caused his companion Abū Bakr as-Șiddīq (RadiAllahu Anhu) to die early, he died from a broken heart, he couldn’t stand to be away from the Prophetﷺ, he would weep for himﷺ. It is this very love that made ‘Umar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb (RadiAllahu Anhu) lose his mind, he said he would cut anyone’s head off that said the Prophetﷺ was dead. It’s this very love that caused his beloved daughter, the master of all women, Fāṭimah (as) to shed tears when hearing he would die, but she laughed when she heard she would join him. It was this very love that at first drove Bilāl al-Habashī (RadiAllahu Anhu) away from Madīnah after the Prophetﷺ demise, but then made him return too. It’s this very love that turned the murderous heart of Fudhala into one that overflowed with love for the Messenger of Allāhﷺ within a fraction of a second. It is however important to remember that this love is not limited to human souls, what of the tree that wept when the Prophetﷺ took to the pulpit?

I could go on, and on with more examples, but I think you get my point.

tumblr_mz5o6pv7yB1ql5rivo1_500

They all loved himﷺ, and we all love himﷺ because heﷺ loved them and heﷺ loves us. Often it is said that we complete our dīn when we marry, but we forget that our status as a believer is complete only when we love Muḥammadﷺ more than our wives, our children, ourselves, more than anything.

And how can we not love himﷺ? Our entire understanding of Islam is because of himﷺ, our realization of Allāh comes from him too. We are because heﷺ was, and still is, Alhamdulillah.

There was a man by the name of ʿAbd Allāh, he would often become so drunk that he had to be brought staggering through the streets before the Prophetﷺ to be sentenced for public drunkenness, and each time, the Prophetﷺ would rule to have the prescribed punishment carried out. This was a common occurrence, after one such episode once ʿAbd Allāh had left after being sentenced, one of the companions declared,

“O Allāh curse him! How often he is summoned for this!”

The Prophetﷺ rebuked that Companion, saying: “Do not curse him, for I swear by Allah, if you only knew just how very much indeed he loves Allah and His Messenger.” [Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī]

Muhammad-PBUH-in-strokes

Heﷺ loved us dearly, so much so that it is difficult to comprehend and fathom. Heﷺ yearned to meet us. It is through his intercession that many of us will enter heaven. Countless aḥādīth exist about the importance of loving himﷺ, and his entire life is a tribute to how much he loved us. Heﷺ would stand all night in prayer for us, he went to the highest heavens several times asking Allāh to lower the number ṣalāh incumbent on us. He was always thinking and praying for us.

His concern and love for us is stated in the Qurʾān:

“A Messenger has come to you from among yourselves. Your suffering is distressing to him; he is deeply concerned for you; he is gentle and merciful to the believers.” [9:128]

Heﷺ isn’t just concerned for us, he is deeply concerned, to such an extent that it distresses him, it hurts himﷺ.

When we can find ourselves in a moment of weakness, a moment where you feel utterly inadequate, as if you don’t matter, you feel alone; it is at this time that we should remember that the Prophet ﷺ prayed for us with an overwhelming sense of love, mercy, and selflessness.

high-quality-islamic-wallpapers9 copy (1)

“Our love for the Prophetﷺ hasn’t even reached the required threshold. How can some say it’s exceeding the limit?” -— Ḥabīb Alī al-Jifrī

“The title of the Holy Prophet of Islam is Ḥabīb-Allāh, the Beloved of God, love for the Prophetﷺ could be described as the great transformative emotion of Islam.” -— Shaykh ʿAbd al-Ḥakim Murad.
(Via-theconsciousmuslim)