Kalaam and tasawwuf

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.

10 Responses to Kalaam and tasawwuf

  1. Souphienne says:

    Bismillah wassalam’aleykum
    Masha Allah Jazakum Allahou khairan.
    Short but VERY VERY important.
    wassalam

    • Begging to Allah says:

      Agreed, yet we have to keep in mind that people do not need each other, people need really need Allah.

      • People do need each other, but this is according to what Allaah has willed. It is based on the created causes and effects we can detect around us. This is part of this life. So for example, if I want to build a house or do some other project, I need to get peoples’ help. Unless one is a big waliyy, making dua alone will not usually be enough. Now, the higher one’s rank, the less one will normally be needing others, as Allaah will facilitate for the awliyaa’ what He does not provide others. For example, some stated that Al-Jiilaaniyy at one stage would eat honey from mountain rocks when wandering in the desert.

  2. Begging to Allaah says:

    “People do need each other, but this is according to what Allaah has willed.”
    Agreed Alhamdulillah, Since creation need each other, perhaps it is more preferable to say that Allaah alone independently influences all else.

  3. Yahya says:

    Assalamu alaicum, Sheikh Abu Adam. In beatific vision, we will see Allah without light, distance, etc. But is it with our physical eyes or it is a symbol for some kind of contemplation or supernatural knowledge?

    • Allaah can create this ability anything, just as He created it in the mountain in the story about Muusaa in the Qur’aan. A mountain does not have eyes. So Allaah could create this ability in any bodypart. When the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) saw Allaah during his Miˆraaj ascension, he saw Allaah with his heart. That being said, it is an ability that will be created in the eyes of the Muslims in the Hereafter.

      No, it is not a kind of contemplation, because contemplation takes effort, unlike seeing. One should not ponder about this, because we cannot understand this fully, as we have never seen something that is not in a place, direction, at a distance or having a shape or color. Aţ-Ţaĥaawiyy said {in brackets}:

      {Belief in the seeing} of Aļļaah without Him being in a place, direction or at a distance {for the people in Paradise is not sound if one considers it to be according to ideas that enter the heart} for such ideas of seeing, will be seeing of what has modality. That is, involving rays, distance, direction and so on. It is incorrect then, if one considers the seeing in this way, {or interprets it according to what agrees with one’s understanding}, and not according to what is established by the Qur’aan, ĥadiitħs, or what sound reason tells us absolutely must be true (such as 1+1=2). {This is because interpretation of this seeing, or any meaning that is ascribed to godhood is done by abandoning interpretation, and adhering to unreserved submission} to the truthfulness of such meanings, even if one does not understand them. {This is the religion of the Muslims. Whoever does not guard himself from denial} of meanings ascribed to Aļļaah {or likening} them to the meanings that are ascribed to created things {will deviate, and will not be declaring Aļļaah clear of imperfection. For verily the One Who is Our Lord – He is great and glorious- is attributed with attributes of} absolute {Oneness and ascribed to Him are attributes of} absolute {Uniqueness} in the sense that no one else has these attributes. {No creation has} attributes with the meaning of {His attributes.}

  4. Yahya says:

    Sheikh, I know Allah can create it. And I know it is impossible to interpet it in a way that make Allah something physical. But it is necessary to interpret it as being our physical eyes? It cannot be some symbol for our non-material “eyes of the heart”? In other words, we only can use figurative interpreation when the verses (or hadith) relates to something impossible to Allah (if literally interpreted) like adscribing place to Him?

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