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It is essential for you to read Part 3 and to comprehend it well and it is something you need to keep in mind throughout this series. Basically, the Ahl al-Kalaam are one family. They are all united by:
a) the underlying language [al-ajsaam wal-a'raad] b) operating upon false analogies for Allah upon which the language of their theology rests entirely and c) operating upon the proof of huduth al-ajsaam (demonstrating origination of the universe).
They are one united family. They are in the same box. In the same Kalam cage. They started fighting over the implementation and rendition of the proof of huduth al-ajsaam. As a result some were led to ta'teel (divestment of Allaah's Names, attributes and actions). They are the Jahmiyyah, Mu'tazilah, Kullaabiyyah, Ash'ariyyah, Maaturidiyyah. And some were led to Tajseem (declaring Allaah to be a jism, upon the particular definition(s) of Ahl al-Kalaam for "jism"). They are the Raafidees and the Hanafi Karraamees.
However, despite these two different directions, they are all disputing with each other about who has validated the proof and who has corrupted the proof. Each one thinks he is right. They are all agreeing to the basic framework of huduth al-ajsaam and its premises. They are just fighting over who has connected all the dots for it and who hasn't, and who has corrupted the proof and who has validated it. This tajsim that some of these people (the Mu'attilah) were accusing others from within their "kalaam family", is not known to the Salaf. This is a purely a Kalaam thing. The Salaf only warned against tashbeeh and tamtheel, which is resembling or likening the realities (haqaa'iq) of what Allaah and His Messenger affirmed for Him of meanings to the realities of what is in the creation. That is what the Salaf warned against. And they never ever indulged in that condemned Kalaam such that they should have any of that innovated speech regarding al-ajsaam wal-a'raad (bodies and their incidental attributes).
This now brings us to our topic, which is the tajsim and tashbeeh of the Extremist Sufis. We already discussed the Raafidee Mujassimah, Mushabbihah and the Hanafi Mujassimah Mukayyifah. We want to complete this section with the Extremist Sufis. Now these Sufis are not coming from the angle of the Mujassimah of Ahl al-Kalaam, from the angle of this proof "huduth al-ajsaam", their tajsim and tashbih is from a different angle, and it is worthy to include them here, because it fits into the general purpose of this series of articles.
These Sufis often go unmentioned in many of the polemical debates that take place on these issues and in this article we will see the nifaaq (hypocrisy) that comes from todays pseudo-Ash'aris being highlighted and we will show that alongside their allegations of tajsim and tashbih against the people of hadith, sunnah and aathaar, and their claimed defence of what they think is the truth, it is hard to believe it is genuine, because there are facts and factors. Because, lets say you were really motivated by defense of the religion (in attacking those so called "nasty, evil Salafi Mujassims"), then in that case, your speech against the Extremist Sufis should be multiple times more abundant and severe, because there is such repugnant speech, nay, plain manifest kufr, that it is simply NOT possible for you [pseudo-Asharis] to remain silent about them, or for your speech about them to be dwarfed by your speech about Ahl al-Sunnah wal-Hadeeth wal-Athar, which is what your blogs, forums and websites are filled with.
Distinguishing the Extremist Sufis (Huloolis, Ittihaadees) From Others
It is very important that we distinguish between the Extremist (Ghulaat) Sufis from others and not paint them all with the same brush. As not all Sufis hold the beliefs of Ittihaad and Hulool. Just as it is important to understand that there are many who tried to defend those Extremist Sufis and their sayings, but they did not really fathom the reality of what those Extremist Sufis really intended, and they found ways to explain away their statements.
This is a subject on its own, and we only want to make some quick indications here. So here goes (simply speaking) about those expressing and speaking with this belief, implied or explicit:
Some of them came early in Islamic history, in the third century hijrah, and it appears they had foreign influences, and these emanationist philosophies - [Allaah manifested Himself into existence and all existence is but Him and that this was a means of manifestation of His attributes which otherwise could not find any expression or recognition] - were already found amongst the Persians, Hindus, and the Kabbalist Jews, but in the fifth century onwards, these same ideas became more popular for certain reasons.
So now lets look at this gross tajsim and tasbhih which is of the worst kind in its implication, and it also has alongside it, the greatest of Shirk too. You need to remember that the intent behind the "spirituality" of these Extremist Sufis is to eventually acquire the attributes of Allaah. You will then understand that those who have supposedly reached this station are given the qualities of Ruboobiyyah and are said to have control over the creation and they are labelled as "gates", "doorways", "poles", "axes" to the higher truth and to the true and real Tawhid! The citations below are from the excellent work "Aqidah al-Sufiyyah Wahdat al-Wujood al-Khafiyyah" by Dr. Ahmad bin 'Abd al-Aziz al-Qaseer (Maktabah al-Rushd, 1st edition, 2003).
Abu Yazeed al-Bistaamee (d. 261H)
He is considered by many to be the first to spread the idea of wahdat al-wujood in the Muslim world and which was already common in other places like Persia. However, as is explained by the Scholars, this belief was already found prior to him, except that these extremist Sufis only gradually revealed the reality of their aqidah until Abu Yazid was the first to openly express it and say "I have come out of the truth to the truth" and he would call out "O you who is me." Al-Bistaamee spoke of al-Ittihaad (divine union) and resembled Himself with the creator and described Himself as the deity. He said as cited by Abdullah bin Alee al-Toosee in his book al-Luma' (p. 461):
Allaah raised me [up] once in front of Him and said, "O Abu Zayd, my creatures would love to see you." So I said, "Adorn me with your unicity (wahdaaniyyah) and clothe me with your beingness (anaaniyyah, meaning so I can say "Anaa huwa" [I am Him (Allaah)]), and raise me to your oneness (ahadiyyah), until when your creation see me they will say, "We have seen you," and it will be you who is there (in my place) and I will not be here (in this place)."
This is one of many sayings and it is corroborated by Sufis who have written commentaries on his statements and who explain with the clear Ittihaad. There was a book compiled called "Al-Nur min Kalimaat Abu Tayfoor" written by al-Sahlaki in which the statements of al-Bistaamee were recorded.
He was once asked about his own condition and he said, "Abu Yazeed has died, may Allaah not have mercy upon him", and what he means is that there is a voluntary death (with these Extreme Sufis) choose and this is their becoming one with Allah (al-fanaa').
In desiring to be described with the wahdaaniyyah of Allaah and Allaah's existence and all of Allaah's attributes, and thinking these affairs had come together in him, he would say, "Subhaanee, Subhaanee (glorified and sublime be me), how great is my affair, sufficient am I for myself, sufficient I am."
Al-Husayn bin Mansur al-Hallaaj (d. 309H)
I am the who loves and the one who loves is I. We are one soul we have occupied a body. So when you see me, you have seen Him. And when you have seen Him, you have seen us.
And he also said:
There is no difference between me and my Lord except in two attributes, our existence (derived from His) and being established through Him.
He also said (in poetry):
Sublime is the one manifested His humanity (al-Nasut), the secret of His penetrating divinity (al-Lahut). Then He emerged manifestly in His creation, in the form one who eats and drinks. Until His creation saw Him with the [vision of the] eyes.
These are found in his book al-Tawwaaseen, and they are all statements of Ittihaad, Hulool and what they comprise of tasbheeh, resembling Allaah to His creation and vice versa, which is inclusive, upon the language and terminology of Ahl al-Kalaam, Tajseem.
Abu Haamid al-Ghazaali (d. 505H) [al-Ash'ari]
Al-Ghazaali was someone who moved between Kalaam, philosophy, baatiniyyah, and tasawwuf and had much contradiction in his views. He was affected by the Ikhwaan al-Safaa (Baatinee Ismaa'eelees), Abu Hayyaan al-Tawhidi and Ibn Seenaa's works. Al-Ghazali was also caller to this belief and this is found in his works "Iyaa Uloom al-Din" and also "Miskhaat al-Anwaar." In al-Ihyaa, he quotes often from Abu Yazeed al-Bistaamee and al-Hallaaj, and his book al-Mishkaat, became an essential component for anyone wishing to construct and doctrine of wahdat al-wujood (unity of existence). Prior to al-Ghazali, these Extreme Sufis were seen as opposers to the Sharee'ah, but when al-Ghazali came along, he merged the Sharee'ah with tasawwuf and tasawwuf with the Sharee'ah and from that time these Sufis were afforded a lofty station.
These are some of his statements from Ihyaa Uloomm al-Din (4/270):
There is not in existence - after tahqeeq (meaning verification, in reality) - except Allah and His actions.
And after mentioning that Tawhid has four levels and that the fourth is to not see anything in existence except what is one (waahid) and that this is referred to as al-fanaa (perishing, expiiring) by the Sufis, which is a person he sees nothing in except a singular whole in the creation, he does not see himself and nor creation. He says, this person is the true Monotheist, because he does not see everything around him (heavens, earth, sees, trees, the entire creation) except as oneness. He says that this is the ultimate goal of secret knowledge and sudden enlightenment (al-kashf) and this type of knowledge cannot be gleaned from books and cannot be circulated as spreading the secret of Ruboobiyyah (which is the unity of existence) is disbelief! He then answer a question as to how can everything be one, when what we see are many varying entities. He says from one angle they are many, but from another angle they are waahid (one, singular). He then says (4/245):
And it was to this Tawhid that al-Husayn bin Mansur al-Hallaaj indicated.
He also says in al-Ihyaa (4/328), speaking about the verse "He loves them and they love Him" (5:54) and quoting one of the Soofees that when this verse was recited to him, he said, "In truth He loves them, for He does not love except Himself" and al-Ghazali commented:
Upon the meaning that He is the whole (al-kull), and that there is nothing in existence except Him.
He also says in Miskhat al-Anwar (p. 69):
There is nothing in existence except Allaah, and everything perishes except His face... so existence is only the face of Allaah.
He says in another place (3/281):
And the meaning of Ruboobiyyah is being single out with existence, through the path of independence. For sharing in existence is a deficiency no doubt. And the one singled out in existence is Allaah, the Exalted, since there is no existent besides Him.
He considers Tawhid to be affirming existence only for Allaah and denying there is any existence alongside Him, which would entail Shirk and affirming deficiences for Allaah.
He says in Miskhaat al-Anwaar (p. 79):
Laa ilaah illallaah is the Tawhid of the commoners, and "laa huwa illa huwa" is the Tawhid of the elite, because this is more specific and inclusive, more truthful and more precise and it enters its utterer (who believes it) into pure oneness, pure unicity.
And he explains laa huwa illaa huwa to be an indication of what can be pointed at and that there is nothing that can be pointed at (in existence) except He (Allaah), and that this is the real Tawhid, the true reality of all realities (same page). These words and explanations are clear that what they intend is that affirming "existence" for other than Allaah is speaking with "duality of existence" (ithnayniyyah) which is "kufr."
There are many, many statements which are very clear and explicit and our aim here is not to exhaust these citations, but simply to point out that whilst this vile aqidah was present before al-Ghazali, he helped to make it mainstream and helped many of the zanaadiqah (heretics) to gain acceptance amongst the people. This is why it has been said, that Mishkaat al-Anwaar in which al-Ghazaali gives an explanation of the verse "Allaah is the light of the heavens and the earth" (24:35) with a Baatinee explanation, that this book is one of the crucial components for the madhhabb of the Ittihaadees who speak with the unity of existence. Al-Ghazaali became "the Hujjah of the Zanaadiqah" and of the grossest and most disbelieving of Mujassimah, Mushabbihah.
And this necessitates the worst and most repugnant type of tashbeeh, and Tajseem (upon the terminology and understand of the Ahl al-Kalaam), and resembling Allaah to His creation. It is said that at the end of his life, al-Ghazaali left Kalaam, Falsafah, and heresy and turned to studying the hadeeth.
And this is what indicates the nifaaq (in action) of these people and is what brings their edifice crumbling down on top of them, and we will expand upon this disgrace at the right place in what is to follow in this series inshaa'Allaah. You will see that fake sense of piety and that spurious "zeal" for the claimed "defense of the religion" when these cowardly people slander the Scholars of Ahl al-Sunnah upon the flimsiest of pretexts and accuse them of tajsim and tashbih when they pretend to be blind to what is in the books of al-Ghazaali (and others) of the greatest of calamities.
Ibn al-Faarid (d. 632H)
This mulhid, zindeeq (heretic) is referred to as the Sultan al-Aashiqeen, the leader of the infatuated lovers. He entered Sufism, became well-known and was counted as the "qutb (pole, axis)" of his era. He never authored any works but he left poetry behind in which his thoughts and beliefs were expressed. This poetry is said to be sweet, slick and eloquent but it is laced with the aqidah of wahdat al-wujood, and for this reason scholars like al-Dhahabi referred to it as "poisoned sweet." His most well-known compositions are al-Taa'iyyah al-Kubraa and al-Meemiyyah. His "Deewaan" (composition) is published and also has an explanation by al-Nabulisi called "Kashf al-Sirr al-Ghaamid Fi Sharh Deewaan Ibn al-Faarid." Now there are many, many lines of poetry in that which indicate without any doubt that he is speaking with the same as his ancestors in this belief (like al-Ghazali, al-Hallaaj and al-Bistami) and we will summarize here some of the concepts found in his poetry (published as Deewaan Ibn al-Faarid):
Now, we are not concerned about the ramblings of this mulhid kaafir as much as we are concerned about the fact that the writings of Abu Hamid al-Ghazaali are what lured many a heretic-to-be in this direction.
So Ibn al-Faarid is from the greatest of the Mujassimah, Mushabbihah, a wandering straying misguided mulhid. And today's pseudo-Ash'arites should be happy to know that his tajsim and tashbih is a result of what the likes of al-Ghazali [who was hopping from kalam to Falsafah to baatiniyyah to ittihaadiyyah and so on...] had concocted of his illuminist sufi baatini philosophy through which he gave those heretics after him a wide open door to enter upon the people of Islaam with their kufr, ilhaad and zandaqah.
Ibn Arabi al-Taa'ee (d. 638H)
Muhammad bin Alee Ibn Arabi al-Haatimee al-Taa'ee (an Ash'ari in creed) is from the greatest of the callers to the unity of existence, however, he displayed a lot of cunning, and many of these people knew that the supposed "dumb common folk" and their scholars [those who are not privileged with that special realization of the truth which cannot be known through the sent messengers and revealed books but only through secret illumination] would see their statements as pure kufr. For this reason, they inserted layers of interpretation in their speech as a veil, so that no matter who they were addressing, they would all consider it to be a truth that can be interpreted according to the view and opinion of whoever comes across it. Or they spoke with speech addressed to the people with what the people saw as truth (regarding matters of belief, Tawhid and so on) from the perspective of "speak to the dumb commoners with speech that is appropriate for them and their level." Hence, they would seemingly contradict and rebut their other statements, whereas in reality they were simply speaking different "truths" for different people, with the highest truth being that ilhaad, zandaqah, kufr and shirk which they taught only through initiation or through subtlety of expression if outright expression was not possible. For this reason whilst a very large number of scholars made takfir of Ibn Arabi, there are still found till this day, those who defend him and explain his statements, without really fathoming the reality of this man and his philosophy, because they never had the perspicacity to see through the cunning of the likes of these people.
Ibn Arabi has two famous books "Fusoos al-Hikam" and "al-Futuhaat al-Makkiyyah" which have received much attention in terms of explanation. We can summarize the core beliefs that come from these books:
Ibn Arabi left around 400 works and in all of these works, which spanned most of his life, he continued to outline and spread this doctrine. However, initially, he was cautious about it. He excuses himself in al-Futuhaat al-Makkiyyah (tahqiq Uthman Yahyaa, 3/226) that we will not bring all matters due to weak minds not being able to grasp it, so he alluded to things and developed his ideas with caution. His book Fusus al-Hikam was written after (in the year 627H) whilst in Damascus, and in this book he was more explicit.
So what greater tajsim, and tashbih and kufr is there in the likes of these statements which are simply an extension of what came from those before him, since Ibn Arabi brought nothing new. However, he was from the greatest of callers to this repugnant doctrine, using layers of deception in his writings, until many have been deceived into defending this man.
Ibn Sab'een (d. 669H)
Ibn Sab'een was from al-Andalus where he studied philosophy, logic, magic and took the way of the Sufis. He was expelled from there in 640H due to his evil belief and he and his followers moved to al-Maghrib (Morocco). He would spread his belief by moving around from town to town but rejection was shown against him and he turned towards Egypt. However, the people of al-Maghrib had sent a messenger to Egypt warning them of Ibn Sab'een and when he did not get acceptance from them he turned to Makkah. He remained in Makkah and under protection and encouragement from the ruler there (Abu Numay), he was active in his da'wah. Howeer, the scholars of Makkah rejected his Sufism, and he tried to leave for India but eventually preferred to stay in Makkah. The historians mention he died of suicide by cutting his own wrists in the year 669H.
He has numerous books Budd al-Ma'aarif, al-Masaail al-Saqaliyyah, al-Ihaatah, al-Alwaah, al-Tawajjuh, al-Risalah al-Nuriyyah. His writings are published with the title "Rasaa'il Ibn Sab'een" and we can quickly summarize some points:
Ibn Sab'een never really had a strong effect on the Sufis (as did Ibn Arabi) because he tended to be very subtle in propounding his ideas. Again, we see this vile Tajseem and tashbeeh alongside what it contains of kufr and shirk.
Abdul-Ghaniyy al-Nabulsi al-Hanafi [al-Maturidi] (d. 1143H)
He was a Hanafi Maturidi and he studied Kalaam, tasawwuf and other sciences in Damascus, he was upon the way of Ibn 'Arabi and Ibn al-Faarid and Ibn Sab'een who found a route to that way through the writings of al-Ghazali. He spent seven years in his own house, not leaving it, as part of the Sufi khalwa (isolation) and left the Jumu'ah and the Jamaa'ah, and was involved in Sufi spiritual exercises (aimed at perishing and becoming "one"). When he acquired that certainty (of wahdat al-wujood) he then left his house and then travelled to other places, to visit the shrines of the Sufis and to connect with the aqtaabs (poles) and the likes.
He has many works, including Eedaah al-Maqsud min Ma'na Wahdat al-Wujood, Sharh Deewaan Ibn al-Faarid, al-Wujud al-Haqq and others. From his beliefs, from the books al-Wujud al-Haqq and al-Fath al-Rabbaanee:
Al-Nabulsi is held highly amongst Sufis because he strove hard to promulgate this aqidah and to give explanations of the writings of the previous mulhids (like Ibn al-Faarid, Ibn Sab'een).
We see in all the above individuals and their statements what amounts to a tashbeeh and Tajseem that is the most evil and repugnant type, it is worse than that of the Raafidee Mujassimah and worse than that of the Hanafi Mujassimah who are from the Kalaam groups, and this vile tashbeeh and Tajseem never arose on account of that ilm al-Kalaam (through the proof of huduth al-ajsaam), but rather it came from the adoption of the emanationist philosophies that were already present in esoteric orders amongst the Persians, Hindus and Kabbalist Jews. And as we said before, it is necessary to distinguish between these Extremist Sufis and others whose Sufism was of a different type. When these ideas manifested and spread, the associated terminology and language was adopted by many, however, some used these expressions with a view to aligning them with correct true meanings in the Sharee'ah (like Abu Ismaa'eel al-Harawaee in Manaazil al-Saa'ireen) and to others, they carried and developed the heretical conceptualizations they represented. You should also note that many of these individuals had words that would contradict what they were propounding, but this was only a means of protecting themselves, and they would speak different "truths" depending on whom they were addressing.
Further, many of today's popular Sufis (like Nazim al-Qubrusi) are simply extensions of the likes of Ibn al-Faarid and Ibn Arabi. They are on the same belief and they believe and propound the unity of religions and also have language of gross tasbhih in their writings. So when this is the case, it is from the greatest of nifaaq (in action) that the bulk of the enmity, polemics, scorn and ridicule found amongst the pseudo-Asha'rites is directed towards the people of hadith, sunnah and aathaar (who are free an innocent of their spurious charges of "Tajseem") and we struggle to find even a whimper on their blogs, forums, websites, podcasts, lectures, writings, works, publications speaking about the actual Tajseem and actual tashbeeh of the worst and most repugnant kind in language that needs no further explanation.
In this article we covered another group amongst the Mujassimah, Mushabbihah, the Sufi Extremists and their belief of unity of existence (wahdat al-wujood) who are worse than the Mujassimah from Ahl al-Kalaam (the Raafidees and Hanafees). Whilst the Mujassimah from Ahl al-Kalaam fell into their Tajseem through the proof of huduth al-ajsaam (going in the other direction of their Jahmee, Mu'tazilee, Kullaabi, Ash'ari, Maturidi fellow kalaamists), these Extremists Sufis came from a different direction (emanationist philosophies of other nations), even if many of their later figureheads came from the background of the Ash'arite belief after the marriage of Kalaam and tassawuf at the hands of certain of their figureheads.
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