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Proper Meaning of Sufism

 
Question:
Salam. Some Muslims claim to follow sufism only and not any madhab. Are they allowed to say something like this?
Answer:

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

First of all, it should be known that a Muslim is required, in all matters related to creed and conduct, to follow the methodology of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, his Companions, and the righteous predecessors who followed that same methodology, such as the Taabi‘oon and their followers.

The authentic Sunnah praised those early Muslim generations as in the Hadeeth reported on the authority of ‘Abdullah ibn Mas‘ood, may Allaah be pleased with him, wherein the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “The best of people are those of my generation, then those who follow them, then those who follow them.” [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]

Sects, like Sufism or others, are to be judged according to their adherence to or departure from this methodology. Sufism or Sufi as mere terminology cannot be praised or denounced per se; rather, each individual or sect is to be judged independently according to their adherence to or departure from the truth.

Some Sufis are people of goodness and merit as the concept of Sufism to them is asceticism with regard to worldly pleasures and devotion to good doing in preparation for the Hereafter. There are other Sufis, however, who follow religious innovations and myths, and some even fall into polytheism and deviation; may Allah safeguard us.

It should be noted that the intended meaning of the person who made this statement is not clear. If he means by the word “Madh-habi” the known schools of Fiqh, such as the Hanafi, Maaliki, Shaafi‘i, and Hanbali schools, then these schools address the aspect of Fiqh (jurisprudence) and the Sharee’ah rulings that judge the actions of people. Sufism, on the other hand, is related to the aspect of thought. So, it is possible that someone could be a Sufi while, at the same time, he follows one of the Fiqh Math-habs.

For more benefit on Sufism, please refer to Fataawa 82017, 31043, 31031 and 29243.

Allah Knows best.

 

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