Jump to content
Guests can now reply in ALL forum topics (No registration required!) ×
ShiaChat.com
Guests can now reply in ALL forum topics (No registration required!)
In the Name of God بسم الله

Shia Opinion Of Sufis?

Rate this topic


Recommended Posts

  • Advanced Member

I'm always confused when people who support Imam Khomeini and the IRR also criticize Sufism.

 

The book 40 Hadith by Khomeini, for example, is basically Sufism/Irfan beginning to end and quotes Ibn Arabi and Mulla Sadra. Iranian culture in general is Sufi-ish (Hafez, Rumi, Saadi, flowers, etc)

 

Also Tabatabai's Al-Mizan is very Sufi influenced too, which a lot of people like.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Veteran Member

I'm always confused when people who support Imam Khomeini and the IRR also criticize Sufism.

 

The book 40 Hadith by Khomeini, for example, is basically Sufism/Irfan beginning to end and quotes Ibn Arabi and Mulla Sadra. Iranian culture in general is Sufi-ish (Hafez, Rumi, Saadi, flowers, etc)

 

Also Tabatabai's Al-Mizan is very Sufi influenced too, which a lot of people like.

 

I think the problem is the term "Sufi" can be very elusive and carries with it certain generalizations and stereotypes. Ayatollah Khomeini never called himself a "Sufi" because there were certain political and social implications in the term and he didn't want to be associated with formal orders of dervishes like the Nimatullahi or Dhahabiya who always have had a rocky relationship with the mainstream ulema, even those of heavy mystical persuasion. But Khomeini himself stated in his writings that the term "Sufi" as a general term for the spiritual wayfarer was not really a problem.

 

Other scholars like Mohammad Taqi-Jafari promoted mysticism against Sufism, which they saw as an aberration of what they understood as traditional Islamic mysticism, but when one reads their writings, one gets the sense that what they associate with the term Sufism is but one form of Sufism and one can find the same criticisms they levy against Sufis within the writings and debates between Sufis themselves. For these scholars, "Sufism" is mainly associated with figures like Hallaj, Ibn Arabi, Rumi, Hafiz, etc. But not all Sufis wholeheartedly accepted everything these figures taught. While the followers of Mansur Hallaj tended to downplay the friction between Hallaj and his contemporary Sufis, Hallaj was a controversial figure even among the Sufis of Iraq and it was with the consent of several of the esteemed Sufi teachers including Hallaj's former teacher al-Junayd that Hallaj was executed. And while Ibn Arabi is one of the most celebrated Sufi personalities and his influence on the whole of Sufism is unmistakable, he wasn't without competition or criticism within the Sufi milieu either.

 

Even Muhammad Baqir Majlisi's metaphysical leanings are markedly Sufi like, in spite of the fact that he rejected the Sufism of his father. For Majlisi it seems to me at least like he associated Sufism chiefly with anti-nomianism, that is disobeying the practical shariah with mystical justifications or the introduction of new rituals with no precedence in the Sunnah (at least from his point of view). Otherwise, his own general theology hardly differs from that of al-Junayd or Mulla Sadra or Khomeini after him.

 

Plus, the Nizaris Ismaili still often refer to themselves as "dervishes" whose "pir" is the Aga Khan

Edited by Saintly_Jinn23
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Advanced Member

I think Sufism is largly misunderstood. It means many different things to many different people. Sure, there are deviant componants of it but there are also benefits in it as well. I think works dealing with practical aspects of Sufism like works of ethics and akhlaq such as the Ihya of al-Ghazali or al-Risala of Abu'l Qasim al-Qurayshi should be read by all Muslims. Sufi Essays by Seyyid Nasr Hossein is also a good read and introduction to Sufism. 

 

I'm not so sure about the comment regarding it as "emotionalism unrestrained". I think modern Shi'ism would be a far better candidate for that label than Sufism. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Advanced Member

The Quran showed the unity between political authority and spiritual authority of God and his chosen ones. Sufi try to separate political authority from the Imams, and are thus going against the guidance and clear proofs of the Quran.

   When Europe was under the Catholic church Vatican rule it was their dark ages only when they separated church from state did Europe rise to the top of the world. America the same Japan the same. Today the Muslim world is the garbage tip of humanity and i have a feeling they will only rise again when they Separate religion from state. Ironically the only muslim group that separates church from state are the Sufis. While the Shiites and the Sunnis are fighting for power and burning every nation to dust maybe they have both lost something from Islam that the Sufis  have preserved.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Advanced Member

I'd rather have thousand sufis than one wahhabi.

They are one of the sub-sects in sunni islam that are not hostile against shia's.

Do not make an enemy of a friend.


I think Sufism is largly misunderstood. It means many different things to many different people. Sure, there are deviant componants of it but there are also benefits in it as well. I think works dealing with practical aspects of Sufism like works of ethics and akhlaq such as the Ihya of al-Ghazali or al-Risala of Abu'l Qasim al-Qurayshi should be read by all Muslims. Sufi Essays by Seyyid Nasr Hossein is also a good read and introduction to Sufism. 

 

I'm not so sure about the comment regarding it as "emotionalism unrestrained". I think modern Shi'ism would be a far better candidate for that label than Sufism. 

Are there Ayatollah's who studied and recommend Ihya of Al-Ghazali?

Edited by Iskandarovich
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Veteran Member

The Quran showed the unity between political authority and spiritual authority of God and his chosen ones. Sufi try to separate political authority from the Imams, and are thus going against the guidance and clear proofs of the Quran.

 

Sufis separate political authority from the Imams because most of them are Sunni and they have to find a way to reconcile the contradiction between accepting Ali and the various Imams as premier guides on the spiritual path and the authority of lesser men acting as the caliphs and sultans.

 

But the traditional Shi'ite understanding of the relationship between state authority and clerical authority is hardly any different from the Sufis.

 

   When Europe was under the Catholic church Vatican rule it was their dark ages only when they separated church from state did Europe rise to the top of the world.

 

"The Dark Ages" is a myth and most of Western Europes' stagnation during that period was caused by factors outside the church's control. If anything, Western Europe became considerably more wealthy and militarily powerful as the Pope consolidated his control (see the Crusades, which would not have been feasible 2 centuries earlier due to rivalry between the barbarian kings and general instability caused by constant wars and invasions). The members of the church were also largely responsible during the Dark Ages for the preservation of science, mathematics and literature. Most of the books that hadn't been destroyed during this period were preserved and copied in the monastic libraries.

 

 

America the same

 

America's economic success owes more to Max Weber's "Protestant ethic," coupled with a general interest in private enterprise. If anything, it is separation between government and private businesses that created America's success, not a separation of religion and state since even if on the official level it was a secular government, on the popular level, Americans historically understood and to some extent still very much understand the American Revolution as having been the express blessing of Jesus Christ (pbuh) and America as the shining "city on a hill," whose promise is from God and American textbooks for school children, even well into the 20th century presented this view of America as chiefly a Christian nation.

 

 

Japan the same.

 

While it is true that Japan during its industrialization adopted a separation between religion and state, Japan was still fairly religious at the time and currently Japan is the least religious country in the world and is suffering a population dilemma due to a lack of it citizens starting families because it'll get in the way of work or school. This lack of growth in population unless remedied will result in the country's extinction within the next 30-50 years since the number of elderly in the country outnumber the youth.

 

 

Today the Muslim world is the garbage tip of humanity and i have a feeling they will only rise again when they Separate religion from state.

 

Except all the great achievements in Islamic art, science and wealth occurred during the time period when state and religion were very much intertwined. The Islamic world's problem, among many, is actually its own modernism and decline in intellect.

 

 

 Ironically the only muslim group that separates church from state are the Sufis. While the Shiites and the Sunnis are fighting for power and burning every nation to dust maybe they have both lost something from Islam that the Sufis  have preserved.

 

Except Sufis were very much involved in the advising and even direct rule of the local and imperial governments of the Ottoman and Safavid empires. Heck the Safavids were heads of their own ancestral Sufi Order and even as their committment to the order began to relax, they still held the title of sheikh ceremoniously.The former

 

 

The idea that Sufis are overwhelmingly secular or pacifists is also a myth. The Sufis have produced many soldiers, governors, and monarchs.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Veteran Member

I think Sufism is largly misunderstood. It means many different things to many different people. Sure, there are deviant componants of it but there are also benefits in it as well. I think works dealing with practical aspects of Sufism like works of ethics and akhlaq such as the Ihya of al-Ghazali or al-Risala of Abu'l Qasim al-Qurayshi should be read by all Muslims. Sufi Essays by Seyyid Nasr Hossein is also a good read and introduction to Sufism. 

 

I'm not so sure about the comment regarding it as "emotionalism unrestrained". I think modern Shi'ism would be a far better candidate for that label than Sufism. 

 

I've always used "Sufism" or "tasawuf" as just a general term for Islamic mysticism.

 

Like I said, some Shi'a scholars of irfan avoid the term Sufi, but that's mostly for social and political reasons. Even with these individuals, most of their ideas are reflected or even directly pulled from famous Sufi sages and saints. I don't see why the term should be so scandalous itself.

 

I think a distinction needs to be made between Sufism as a general field of study and Sufism with regards to the culture of the formalized Sufi lodges. Most people's objections to Sufism I think pertain to the practices of the latter, as many have no problem reading Ayatollah Khomeini or Tabatabai's theological and exegetical works, which are pretty much Sufi in character.

Edited by Saintly_Jinn23
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Advanced Member

As has been said before sufism is very diverse  is divided over a wide spectrum between extreme legalism  and extreme outerworldness (if thats a correct term). Because its hard to pinpoint it becomes hard to say what the opnion of the shia (if there is such a thing as ''the shia'') is about Sufis.  Yes Shiism is oposed to certain forms of Sufism and to certain forms it does not, depending on which scholar you ask...I think.

 

But personally if you would ask me , considering todays circumstances , give me a 1000 Sufis and not one Wahabi .

Link to post
Share on other sites

Shi'ite "Irfan" is just Sufism, people really need to deal with that.

Also, the different Sufi dervishes are at least partially responsible for the spread of various forms of Shi'ism throughout the centuries.

Using the word sufi quite losely aren't we?

Are we talking about sufi the sect/branch or are we talking about sufi in the spiritual sense? There ia a difference.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Advanced Member

Sufism makes a lot of people open-minded for Shia islam for as we all know. In the majority of Sufi-branches the first teacher is Imam Ali a.s. and not Abu Bakr. 

That can make people think. When I was still influenced by Salafism right after my conversion I asked myself why they believe Imam Ali a.s. was the first teacher of Sufism and not Abu Bakr. 

I think that was the moment the process started to work. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Advanced Member

Using the word sufi quite losely aren't we?

Are we talking about sufi the sect/branch or are we talking about sufi in the spiritual sense? There ia a difference.

It is always used loosely, especially by critics. The najdi goons heap piles of garbage on sufis, yet want to talk about tazkiyya (which, I guess to them, is murdering other muslims).  Even the most harsh of critics from the salafist camp will have to come to terms that their two big names (ibn al Qayim and ibn Taymiya)  would be considered "sufi" today.

 

Some turooq are out there and should be censured, some are very sober. I've seen both.  I'm not familiar with "irfan" but given the word used I can get an idea. Any further reading would be appreciated.

Edited by rajul
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Basic Members

Yeah that very cliché comes to mind "give dog a bad name and hang him" really today people talk without thinking, I'm just perturbed that the real value of being a Muslim is driven by sectarian discourse rather than a common approach towards a similar goal( ya'll NEED find that goal boys ).... Just saying, bickering like old fashioned elderly folk won't solve your problem.

Oh by the way, we tend to dishonour our prophet in many ways than we can think of a Muslim is a Muslim what ever BRAND you may carry as baggage, and if you tell me that your's is the correct way then I must be blind or stupid not to seek the Truth for myself, to make an informed non judgmental or biased opinion at the expense of some of Islam's great personalities most scholarly Sufi's are Persian of decent so let's not altogether dismiss sufis, sufism may be a different kettle from established sufi's, like that brother said, 1000 sufis is better than one real defector, he maybe right, that defectors agenda is against the Shia I haven't yet read of a qualified spiritual sufi give fatwas against people who have the names like Ali Hussein etc to be slaughtered and massacred in the Name of Allah, women children and the innocent from both sides pay the ultimate price.

THIS IS MORE INTERESTING to talk about, the mark of dajjal a chip will be implanted in the human hand and the dajjal would run the future economy of the world.

A multi-national committee of the United Nations is calling for the elimination of the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency – a position held for over 60 years. This would be disastrous for the U.S as it produces a global currency and opens the door for the Antichrist. Reported by The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg.com & Telegraph.co.uk

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Advanced Member

There's a tradition of condemning sufi's in imami literature from the period after the rise of the Safavid's in Iran until today. You'll find excellent scholars like Muhammad Baqir Majlisi (May God bless his soul) outright condemn the sufi's as innovators & immoral. But it's also not entirely clear as to what their definition of Sufism is exactly because the very same authors also elaborate upon & explain concepts which I personally would've deemed 'Sufism' before I even knew shi'ites termed these things as Irfan.

The Safavid's were themselves a Sufi Order that had claimed sovereignty over all of Iran - it was in their interest to suppress Sufi orders as they knew from experience they were a threat.

I personally believe the definition of Sufism they have in mind is the the so-called 'Qalandariyya': those who deliberately act against social conventions cuz they believe it is spiritually beneficial & don't feel obliged to adhere to the shariah cuz they claim hat they have passed through the shariah to the level of Tariqa, where shariah practice isn't necessary, until they reach Haqiqah. Most Sunni Sufis would also reject these practices as against Islam.

In the foreword to Bahr Al Ulum's 'Treatise on spiritual journeying & wayfaring' it's mentioned that the ulema of the imamiya roughly belong to 1 out of the following 3 groups:

1: Those that recognize Sufism as the mystical dimension of Islam & usually have sufi tendencies in their thought & practice.

2: Those who are against Irfan & Sufism altogether; often against philosophy as well. They view these fields as not truly belonging to the Islamic tradition, but have been introduced from without.

3: Those who distinguish between Irfan (mysticism, gnosis) & Sufism (Tasawwuf), associating a positive connotation with the former & a negative connotation with the latter.

Many Shia scholars throughout history have belonged to the 1st group such as Sayyid Ali Ibn Tawus, Shaykh Baha'i, Ibn Fahd Al-Hilli, Sayyid Bahr Al-Ulum, Muhammad Taqi Majlisi & the 1st & 2nd Shaheeds (Muhammad Jamaluddin al-Makki Al-Amili & Zayn al-Din Al-Juba'i al-Amili) - May God be pleased with them all

The 2nd group feel that the Quran & Hadith of the Infalliables (pbot) is all that's needed. I think Ayatollah Wahid Khorasani adheres to this perspective.

Most ulema belong to the 3rd group & draw a distinction between Sufism & Irfan: rejecting the former & accepting the latter.

As long as one adheres to the shariah, don't profess absolute obedience to anyone but Allah (swt) & the Imam (atfs) - what's the problem? Edited by Shamati
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Advanced Member

I've always used "Sufism" or "tasawuf" as just a general term for Islamic mysticism.

 

Like I said, some Shi'a scholars of irfan avoid the term Sufi, but that's mostly for social and political reasons. Even with these individuals, most of their ideas are reflected or even directly pulled from famous Sufi sages and saints. I don't see why the term should be so scandalous itself.

 

I think a distinction needs to be made between Sufism as a general field of study and Sufism with regards to the culture of the formalized Sufi lodges. Most people's objections to Sufism I think pertain to the practices of the latter, as many have no problem reading Ayatollah Khomeini or Tabatabai's theological and exegetical works, which are pretty much Sufi in character.

Did Shias really borrow something/anything from the Sufis or did Sufis create their ideology based upon Shias model of reverence of ahl al bayt (this is the chicken or egg problem). Many Shias would insist that irfan existed and that the Sufis are the copy cat.
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Advanced Member

Did Shias really borrow something/anything from the Sufis or did Sufis create their ideology based upon Shias model of reverence of ahl al bayt (this is the chicken or egg problem). Many Shias would insist that irfan existed and that the Sufis are the copy cat.

 

When the Prophet (S) was alive... there was no Shia, Sunni, Sufi, or anyhing.  There wasn't even "Islam" as we understand the term.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You are posting as a guest. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...