I was sent a message the other day about sufis attacking kalaam. This is the world we live in. A lot of things will be clear if one just asks: what is sufism? What is kalaam? Do we all understand the same thing from these words? Can we reasonably assume that when a scholar of the past criticized “kalaam” that he understood what people understand today? (Assuming people today have even stopped to think about what it means – and that is a big assumption.) Can we reasonably assume that he meant that learning the proofs of Islam that pertain to certain knowledge is bidˆah or a source of confusion, or the like? I don’t think so.
To me tasawwuf is to live and think according to the belief that there is only One Creator that is not like creation, and all that bears in it of obeying Him, and relying on Him and loving Him more than anything. It is about directing all your thought and actions towards this. It is being absorbed by the belief in Allaah. Is this what is meant when some scholars criticize sufism? I don’t think so either. Anyway, my brief answer was as follows:
Kalaam without sufism is heartless.
Sufism without kalaam is mindless.
And no, I don’t mean that Sufis need to read Sanuusiyyah Kubraa, or Ar-Raaziyy’s Arbaˆiin, or Al-Iijiyy’s Mawaaqif. They need to know what is enough for the situation they are in, the things they are exposed to inside and outside of themselves. Kalaam is only there to protect the faith. Your own faith, and for those that are qualified, that of other Muslims. Once that is achieved, Kalaam serves no purpose. In fact, it can indeed be harmful. Why bring up questions you’ll never think of otherwise? This is the essential criticism As-Sanuusiyy and others had for Ar-Raaziyy, may Allaah please him. As Maalik said, “we are all criticizing, and criticized, except the man in this grave,” i.e. the Prophet’s in his grave is not criticized, (صلى الله عليه وسلم). One should get to work instead, once one knows enough about beliefs and their proofs to be satisfied and protected from the ultimate of disasters: deviance in belief.