Saturday, October 25, 2008

Miracles & Tricks of Sufis.

Feat of Devil [Shaitan] is not termed a karamat (miracle) but istidraj (deception). Any feat that appears to be supernatural or wondrous, shown by one not following the shariat, cannot be termed as karamat. It is istidraj and a trap for the unwary-a trick to lead them astray.

Misuse of Holy Quran for Black Magic Muhammad Aamir Mughal

ISTIDRAJ [another meaning Promoting by degrees, step by step]

وَالَّذِينَ كَذَّبُواْ بِآيَاتِنَا سَنَسْتَدْرِجُهُم مِّنْ حَيْثُ لاَ يَعْلَمُونَ


Waallatheena kaththaboo biayatina sanastadrijuhum min haythu la yaAAlamoona

Interpretation of the Meaning:

And those who deny Our revelations - step by step We lead them on from whence they know not. [AL-ARAF (THE HEIGHTS) Chapter 7: Verse 182]

فَذَرْنِي وَمَن يُكَذِّبُ بِهَذَا الْحَدِيثِ سَنَسْتَدْرِجُهُم مِّنْ حَيْثُ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ


Fatharnee waman yukaththibu bihatha alhadeethi sanastadrijuhum min haythu la yaAAlamoona

Interpretation of the Meaning:

Leave Me (to deal) with those who give the lie to this pronouncement. We shall lead them on by steps from whence they know not. [AL-QALAM (THE PEN) Chapter 68: Verse 44]

Ibn-Jauzi in his book [Talbees -e- Iblees i.e. Translation Delusions of the Devil by D.S. Margoliouth and another translation by Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips] states:

Imam Shafi said:

"Whoever will be with Sufis more than 40 days, his brain will leave him forever". (See Ibn Jauzi "Talbis ul iblis" p 531, Darul kutubu "Kahraman", Istanbul 2002)

And Yunus ibn Abdul Ala reported from Imam Shafi:

”Who ever will become Sufi in the beginning of the day, he will grow stupid before the Zuhar”. ". (See Ibn Jauzi "Talbis ul iblis" p 531, Darul kutubu "Kahraman", Istanbul 2002)

Yahya ibn Yahya said:

”Havarij is more beloved for me than Sufis”. (See Ibn Jauzi "Talbis ul iblis" p 531, Darul kutubu "Kahraman", Istanbul 2002)

This should clarify the usage of what "tassawuf" was and meant to the early ones.

Early History of Sufism.

He is Abu'l-Qasim al-Junayd b. Muhammad b. al-Junayd al-Khazzâz al-Baghdadi, born in Baghdad around 215 and lived most his life in that capital until he died in 298 AH.

His teachers were his maternal uncle Sari al-Saqati and al-Harith al-Muhasibi, two scholars of the past known for their great piety, Abu Thawr the student of Imam al-Shafi'i, Abu 'Ubayd al-Harawi the multi-fold scholar, Muhammad al-Qassâb, Abu Bakr al-Qantari and Yahya b. Mu'adh al-Razi, all of them called Sufis, and others.

All his teachers were in general upright men and had sound beliefs - Insha'Allah. Take for example his maternal uncle, the famous Sari al-Saqati who is claimed falsely today by pseudo-Sufis.

Sari al-Saqati was famous for his Wara’, i.e. abstinence for the world. The fame of his abstinence reached even Imam Ahmad, who remarked concerning him:

"Oh you mean the Shaykh who is well-known for his scrupulousness about food?"

al-Junayd, the nephew of Sari who was his first teacher, related that his uncle asked him once to whose assembly he was going when he left him.

Junayd said: "To that of al-Harith al-Muhasibi."

Sari al-Saqati then said: "Ok, go and accept his learning and his discipline, bu beware of his Kalâm and refutations of the Mu'tazilah!"

Junayd added,

"As I was going out I heard Sari say: 'May Allah make you traditionalist who is a sûfi, and not a sûfi who is a traditionalist! '"

Abu Talib al-Makki explained this as: knowledge of the tradition and Sunnah should come first, and afterwards practicism of ascetiscism and devotion.

Being well-grounded in orthodox 'Aqidah is important before one wants to become a devotee. For this reason, many claiments to Tasawwuf are spoken ill of and the name 'tasawwuf' was first looked up with suspicion, nowadays it is put on a par with heresy and innovation. May Allah protect us from heresies and innovations!

Anyway, here you can see that Sari al-Saqati cared about his family's religious condition, or better conviction: he advised his nephew and warned him for al-Muhasibi' s involvement into Kalâm and debating the Mu'tazilites. Instead, he encouraged him to take from al-Harith 'the One who Counts' (lit. al-muhâsibi that is: the accountable, who reckons himself) the discipline for which al-Harith was known for; such as his devotion, piety, modesty, restraint etc.

Al-Harith al-Muhasibi was a pious scholar, knowledgeable in many sciences, except that his involvement into forbidden and blameworthy sciences, as infected by the Mu’tazilites with whom he debated, made him a paria at the end of his life. He was criticized heavily by the Imam Ahmad, which was justified. His books such as the Fahm al-Qur’an contain innovative stances on the Attributes of Will (i.e. the sifât al-ikhtiariyyah) , which he took directly from the Mu’tazilites or from Ibn Kullâb who was prominent for negating such Attributes.

Junayd al-Baghdadi was in fact warned for Kullabite and Mu’tazilite doctrines, and as such was orthodox in beliefs. He said personally:

"I studied Fiqh according to the Madhhab of such authorities on Hadith as Abu ‘Ubayd and Abu Thawr, and later I associated with al-Harith al-Muhasibi and Sari b. Mughallas. That has been the reason of my success, because our knowledge must be controlled by going back to the Qur’an and the Sunnah. Whovere has nor learned the Qur’an by heart and has not studied Hadith, and has not learned jurisprudence before embarking on Sufism, is a man who has no right to lead."

This is sound ‘tasawwuf’, if with Tasawwuf is meant: purifying the heart, performing a lot of devotions, regularly remembering Allah, taking the Prophet’s outward example in clothing etc. It means also having sound convictions, for deeds will rise to Him and accepted if well-grounded beliefs are sound. If one believes in the unification of man with Allah, and we seek refuge from such blasphemy, whatever prayer performed or remembering directed to Allah, it will be rejected and you shall enter the Fire without a doubt!

Junayd al-Baghdadi passed one day by a group of Mutakallimun who were speaking in a negative mode about Allah, the Exalted. That is: they were discussing the Creator in a negative theology as the Mu’tazilites, Ash’arites and many other sects do, i.e. mentioning the sifât al-salibiyyah in detail and broadly by speculations.

Junayd asked: "Who are these people?"

He was answered: "These are people who use proofs to sho that Allah has none of the Attributes in order of that which is created and no signs of imperfection. "

Junayd then answered: "To deny a fault which could not possibly exist [for Allah], is a fault [of judgement itself]!"

He means: to say for example that Allah is not inside the creation, outside the creation, not above, nor below, not left, nor right, He is not this or that.. etc. is a fault in itself, for Allah, the Exalted, should not be described as such.

Unfortunately, al-Harith al-Muhasibi felt in some of that too. For this reason the great Hafidh Abu Zur’ah al-Razi said:

"Beware of these books because they are full of innovation and are misleading!"

Junayd seem to keep away of that. Al-Muhasibi was accustomed to debating and intercourse with people, while writing them down when returning back home. Junayd was of a different nature when it came to dealings with the people, as inherited from Sari al-Saqati and his likes. He would often say to al-Harith al-Muhasibi, his early teacher after Sari:

"My delight is in solitude, but you [al-Muhasibi] expose me to the rough and tumble of society."

Sari al-Saqati, his maternal uncle who warned him for al-Muhasibi’s involvement with the Ahl al-Kalâm, said to his young nephew:

"O Abu’l-Qasim! I see you are beginning to spend your time with the common people."

Junayd saved himself from falling into innovations and doubts, and would not be persecuted as al-Muhasibi was by Imam Ahmad and his followers.

Junayd said: "Security is achieved only by those who consciously seek it, who do not set themselves up in opposition, who renounce the temptation to seek after what knowledge of Islam forbids."

As such, it is no surprise to see the scholars of fairness and in-depth knowledge such as Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah and his disciple the Imam Ibn al-Qayyim speak highly of this true saint. Indeed, the statements sûfis made about him such as ‘Shaykh al-Tariqa’ are justified, in so much he was truly upon a path that was orthodox and of which he was a leading personality.

And how filled with anger was Ibn ‘Arabi and each and every Ittihâdi Zindiq when they saw the statement of this Imam:

"Our doctrine is the separation of the eternal from that which was originated" (ifrâd al-qadîm ‘an al-muhdath)

- a refutation of those people who are supporters of Wahdat al-Wujûd. And for this reason Ibn ‘Arabi burst out against this Sunnite. There is no might nor power then with Allah!

Such a statement of Junayd about Allah’s Tawhid was expressed by the Imam because of the first Ittihadi and Hululi people that became prominent. It was in Junayd’s time that this evil came out. When this happened in Baghdad, the orthodox scholars supported by the Caliph came out against the sûfis who supported these false beliefs.

It happened that an Imam stood up, the Malikite Qadi Isma’il b. Ishaq, who was a student of Ahmad b. Hanbal and other eminent scholars. He was also a descendant of the great Basran scholar Hammad b. Zayd and considered in his time the Imam of the Maliki Madhhab. The scholar who made much effort against them was the Hanbalite Ghulam al-Khalil.

All sufis it is said were accused of heresy in public, incl. the Imam Junayd. But Junayd was known in public for his devotion, sound beliefs and intellectual standing as a jurist. Then again, some people accused him of that and he had to be confronted with the authorities so that they could question him. When he stood in court he said that he was simply a jurist, and thus pardoned. The rest were however questioned more. At the end, most were freed too after being questioned and none has been hurt in any way as the Mu’tazilites did to the Sunnis before. Such was justice, and through it Junayd was freed of all blames of heterodox beliefs.

It is said that when al-Hallâj, the notorious pantheist and thé example of Ibn ‘Arabi and his likes, separated himself after a conflict with Abu ‘Uthman ‘Amr al-Makki, a pious sufi with sound beliefs, he came to Junayd.

The latter asked him for what purpose he had come, to which al-Hallâj replied: "For the purpose of associating with the Shaykh."

Junayd replied: "I do not associate with madmen! Association demands sanity; if that is wanting, the result is such behaviour as yours towards Sahl b. Abdallah al-Tustari and ‘Amr."

Sahl b. Abdallah al-Tustari is a pious sufi with sound beliefs. Indeed, the Salimiyyah sect that has been found by Ibn Sâlim and his son, both students of Sahl, is based upon statements, acts etc. from the latter. And most of it is sound and agreeable, except a small part not. But in general, their doctrines about Allah, the Exalted, and His Attributes is sounder than that of the later Ash’arites and far better than the Mu’tazilites. Abu Talib al-Makki, author of the Qut al-Qulub, and Abu ‘Ali al-Ahwazi, author of the refutation of Abu’l-Hasan al-Ash’ari, are considered Salimites.

As for ‘Amr al-Makki? Well, his sound beliefs are also a matter we can confirm without fear. It is ‘Amr, the former teacher of al-Hallâl, who said about this unbeliever who left him later:

"If I could meet him, I would kill him with my own hand!"

Junayd was of sound beliefs, agreeable to the Sunnah. This is bared by his teachers, the advises of his teachers against Kalâm and the Mu’tazilah (who were the only people then who interpreted away Allah’s Rising, for al-Harith and Ibn Kullab never ever did that), his relationship with al-Harith al-Muhasibi, with that of other personalities such as al-Hallâj, his views about men like Sahl al-Tustari (who kissed Abu Dawud al-Sijistani’ s tongue because of the sunan that flowed from his lips), ‘Amr al-Makki, Ibn Surayj and many more.

Junayd authored also many works, that is: rasa’il. Junayd’s Rasa’il are famous, like al-Muhasibi’s books. Many of his Rasa’il are about Tawhid.

The famous statement cited above, i.e. the separation of Allah from all that his created, is cited by Abu’l-Qasim al-Qushayri, the Ash’arite sufi, in the beginning of his book famous al-Risalah fial-Tasawwuf. Ibn Taymiyyah wrote a commentary on the Risalah, in two volumes: Kitab al-Istiqama. It is one of the most excellent books I ever read on ‘tasawwuf’ containing so much Fawa’id. He mentioned al-Qushayri’s quotation and commented upon it, against al-Qushayri’s understanding and that of other Kullabite-Ash’ arite scholars who deny the Attributes of Will. If one desires knowledge about Junayd’s beliefs, take recourse to that splendid book. Therein is also mentioned that the Sufis in general, from the earliest day until the second half of the 5th century were upon sound beliefs; only after Abu Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami and his likes the Kullabiyyah (or Ash’ariyyah) influenced heavily the sufis, until al-Qushayri’s Risalah sealed it with the impression that Sufism and Ash’arism are twins that are not separable of each other. Truth dictates otherwise, as I’ve referred more than once how sound sufis opposed the Ash’arites.

However, we must not free Junayd of possible mistakes. As many sufis, he has some sayings that are problematic somehow. That is mostly because of his style and that of his colleagues.

After this introduction, let me say what I could find on Allah’s Rise or Establishing upon the Throne or whatever is indicative of that from the tongue of Junayd, may Allah have mercy upon him:

In the Kitab al-Mithâq ascribed to Junaud al-Baghdadi he says after the Basmala, the Hamd, the Testimony etc. the following within the text under the chapter:

"On Divinity: ..then Allah added to this the testimony of the power of His Glory, the extent of His Splendour, the display of His Conquest, the Height of His Elevation, the Dominion of His Sovereignty, the intensity of His Awe, the Nobility of His Majesty, the splendour of His Rule. He is unique by these qualities and thus allows Himself to be distinguished. He is Magnified and Exalted by His Greatness!"

This is sufficient for his affirmation of al-‘Uluww.

There is also a statement ascribed to Ibn al-A’rabi, concerning Istiwa’. It is said that Ibn Abi Duwad, the Mu’tazilite, went to him or made someone ask him if Istiwa’ could mean Istawla of something alike. Thereupon Ibn al-A’rabi denied that and silenced the man.

I think this is the linguist Ibn al-‘Arabi who lived in Ahmad’s days, and not the student of Abu Dawud al-Sijistani, the Tunesian Ibn al-A’rabi who authored the Tabaqat al-Nussak who was also a close student of Junayd born in 247 and died in 341 AH.

Anyway, Junayd had sound beliefs when it came to Allah’s Names and Attributes. This can be seen in the statements reported from him and from his writings, beside his association with other Sunnites and the passage of his life.

And Allah Knows best!

The definition of a ‘Man of Allah’ as given in the ‘Sharh-e 'Aqa'id-e Nasafi’ is as follows: -

“A saint is a man who knows Allah's Person and attributes to his best ability, and is constant in devotions and refrains from sins and does not indulge in sensual pleasures and lusts.”

The Identity of a 'Man of Allah'

Shaikh al-Hadith Maulana Muhammad Zakariya states:

that it is very important to ascertain what kind of people the ‘Men of Allah’ are.

The identity of the ‘Men of Allah’ consists in conformance to the Sunnah, for Allah Most Glorious and Holy, has sent His Most Beloved Prophet as an example for the guidance of the ummah, and has stated in the holy Quran: -

قُلْ إِن كُنتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللّهَ فَاتَّبِعُونِي يُحْبِبْكُمُ اللّهُ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ وَاللّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

قُلْ أَطِيعُواْ اللّهَ وَالرَّسُولَ فإِن تَوَلَّوْاْ فَإِنَّ اللّهَ لاَ يُحِبُّ الْكَافِرِينَ

Say, (O Muhammad, to mankind): If ye love Allah, follow me; Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. Say: Obey Allah and the messenger. But if they turn away, lo! Allah loveth not the disbelievers (in His guidance). [AL-E-IMRAN (THE FAMILY OF 'IMRAN, THE HOUSE OF 'IMRAN) Chapter 3: Verse 31-32]

Hence, the man who is a consummate follower of the Holy Prophet is in reality the true man of Allah; and the farther a man is from conformance to the sunnah the farther he is from Allah's proximity. The professional commentators of the Quran (mufassarin) have stated that the man who claims to cherish love for Allah but opposes the Holy Prophet's Sunnah is a liar.

For it is a rule of affection and a law of love that when a man loves someone, he loves the beloved's house and its doors and walls and courtyard and garden also; so much so that even the beloved's dog and donkey are loved. An Arabic poet says: - "When I pass through Layla's city. I kiss this wall and that wall. The love of cities has not infatuated my heart; it's rather the power of the love of those people who inhabit these cities".

Another Arabic poet says: -"You claim love for Allah and yet you disobey Him. Had you been true in your claim, you would never have disobeyed Him, because the lover is always obedient to the beloved".

The Holy Prophet said, “My entire ummah will enter Paradise save those who denied.” The Companions asked: "What's the meaning of ‘those who denied.’ He replied: "The man who obeys me will enter Paradise and he who disobeys me is the denier.”

At another place he says: "None from amongst you can be a Muslim as long as his desire does not become subject to the religion that I have brought".

It is really astonishing that claimants for the welfare of Islam and the Muslims are devoid of obedience to Allah and His Apostle . To say anything before these claimants, that it is contrary to the Sunnah and which is opposed to the Holy Prophet's way is tantamount to striking them with a spear! Shaikh Sa'di says: - "He who chose a way contrary to the Prophet's would never reach the destination" .

In short, to ascertain that this man is one of the ‘Men of Allah’, to cultivate friendship with him, to attend upon him frequently and to benefit from his knowledge, is the cause of progress in religion, and the Holy Prophet's order too is the same.

"He who did not weigh his sayings, states and actions in the balance of Allah's Book and the Sunnah, and did not consider his sensual desires bad, do not reckon him to be in the list of men". [Imam Abu Hafs Kabir Hadad's Statement]

"The routes for reaching Allah are countless but all of them are closed for the creature, except for that man who follows the Apostle's footsteps.” In another statement Hazat Junayd Baghdadi says that, "This, our cult of Tasawwuf, is cordoned with the Book and the Sunnah and principle". He also said: "Our knowledge is bound with the Book and the Sunnah. The man who does not remember the Book and does not transcribe Hadith and does not learn Fiqh shall not be followed".

Moreover he says: "Our Book the Holy Quran is the Chief of all Books and is the most comprehensive Book. And our Shari'ah is clearer and more apt to human nature than all other shari'ahs. And the Sufis', method has been strengthened with the Book and the Sunnah. He who read the Quran but did not commit Hadith to memory and did not understand the meanings and significance of both, is not at all deserved to be followed.”

"If you see a man, that he is sitting cross-legged in the air, even then don't follow him as long as you do not see his behaviour as regards Allah and His prohibitive orders". [Hazrat Junayd Bagdadi's Statement]

He says in Irshad al-Muluk that a spiritual director should be that person who may instil and indurate religion and Shari'ah in the proselytes' hearts, and it is not possible to become a Shaikh without this quality.

He writes further that the qualifications that should necessarily be found in the Shaikh are as follows:-

‘He should be a scholar of the Quran and the Hadith; and not only a scholar but should also possess qualities of perfection and should be averse to the love of the world, position and wealth. He should have acquired the knowledge of the path from such godly Shaikhs whose chain of affiliation may link uninterruptedly to the Holy Prophet .

In his ‘Fatawa Rasheediah’ he writes at one place that the man who is a Sufi but acts contrary to the Shari'ah is not worthy of being paid allegiance (bai`ah); nor is he a man of the path; on the contrary, he is a Satan. Persian couplet: - "He who chose a path contrary to the Prophet's would never reach the destination" . [Qutb Al-Irshad Maulana Gangohi's Statement]

He writes in his Book ‘Itmam al-Na 'am,’ it is not necessary that if, the peculiarity of someone, is proven with thaumaturgic gifts and miracles, that he may also be free from the calamities of the baser self. Sometimes, someone who is not perfectly steady in faith and conformance to the Shari achieves external miracles.

Commenting upon this observation Maulana Abdullah Gangohi says that the common people believe much in miracles and unusual things; whoever performs any new or novel thing, they consider him a saint. Rather the very criterion of sainthood in the sight of the masses is also same, although the real miraculousness is stability in following the Shari' ah and the cleansing of the self from evil habits.

The Shaikh demolishes this error. It is not necessary that a thaumaturgist may also have gained release from the calamities of the self, i.e. the internal diseases and mean habits. Because sometimes thaumaturgic gifts are received by some one who is not fully stable in faith and conformance to the Shari'ah and his baser self is not pure. On the contrary, non-Muslims perform abnormal or preternatural actions also. Hence such abnormal and thaumaturgic acts are not things to be relied upon; the real thing is stability in religion and the cleansing and purification of the baser self. [Maulana Khalil Ahmed Muhajir-E Madani's Statement]

He says: "It has also been described as a saint's attribute that he may be assiduous in performing the devotions. But this has become the people's criterion today that even if a man is not regular in performing the obligatory and incumbent acts, he can be a saint. According to them, opposition to the shari'ah is not antithetical to sainthood; they suppose a stark naked person also to be a divinely approved person. I ask you: What is it, if it is not flagrant perversity? Shaikh Sa'di says: - "Don't think, O Sa'di, that the path of purity can be trodden save in the footsteps of the Chosen One". [Maulana Wasiullah's Statement]

"O son! The thing that will be useful tomorrow, on the Day of Judgement, is conformance to and compliance with the Lawgiver .

Dervish-like conditions, scholarly rapture, sciences and educational acquirements, sufistic mysteries and allusions are undoubtedly very good if they be along with compliance with and conformance to the Holy Prophet . But if these things be without the commitment to the Shariah and the essence of conformance to the Sunnah, then there is no substance in them save degeneration and istadraj (working of abnormal feats the effect of which is ephemeral)".

In another letter he says: "If these states and particulars are achieved along with the opposition to the Shari'ah, even though it be to the extent of a hair's breadth, they will all be counted as istadraj and will at the least defame him.”

"Absolution without following the Beloved Prophet of the Lord of the Worlds is impossible". [Imam Rabbani Mujaddid Alf-E Sani's Statement]

He writes in his Fatawa Rahimiyyah as follows: -

"It should also be remembered that generally perceptible miracles alone are considered a perfection, but according to men of perfection the spiritual miraculousness is a perfection. That is, to remain firm on the Chosen Prophet's Shari'ah, in such a way that in every walk of life and on every occasion one may discriminate between Sunnah and non-Sunnah acts. And to conform consummately to the Apostolic Sunnah; and to have the zest for it and attachment to it and heartfelt concentration towards Allah and engrossment with Allah should be to such an extent
that not a single breath be passed in forgetfulness.

"A chishti saint came to the presence of Mahboob-e Subhani Mujaddid Alf-e Sani and said": 'I was feeling 'contraction' (qabz) with regard to Allah for a number of years. So I went to your Hazrat Khwaja Baqi Billah and complained to him of contraction. By Khwaja Sahib's spiritual concentration (tawajjuh) and invocation, my state of contraction changed. Could you please also shower your tawajjuh upon me because Hazrat Khwaja Sahib has entrusted all his successors (khulafa) and proselytes to you'. Hazrat Mujaddid Sahib replied: "With me there is nothing except conformance to the sunnah.”

"Hearing this the saint was enraptured and due to the effect of the power of affiliation (nisbat) and the internal power, the land of Sirhind began to shake. "Hazrat Imam Rabbani asked an attendant to bring his miswak from the niche. He threw the miswak on the ground whereby the land became still instantaneously, and that saint's rapturous state also fled.

"After that he told the saint, 'By your miraculous power the land of Sirhind began to shake, and if this faqir invokes, Allah willing, the deceased people of Sirhind will come to life. But I consider the using of miswak (Miswak: Piece of tree branch used as tooth brush) according to the Sunnah practice, during ablution-making, far superior then your miracle (shaking of the land) and mine (revival of the dead of Sirhind through my invocation." [Mufti Sayyid Abdur Rahim Lajpuri's Statement]

He says: ‘If there is such a man of perfection in your sight who sits cross-legged in the air and levitates on water, don't hold him in esteem unless you test him as to how he is in observing the Islamic commandments and the legal limits (hudud).

Once he (Ba-Yazid Bistami) was told: ‘Such and such a man reaches Mecca in one night.’ ‘Satan,’ he replied, ‘Reaches from east to west in a moment, although he is held in Allah's curse.’ (Basa’ir al-Aha'ir, p.612)

Once he told an attendant: "Come along with me so that we may see such and such a man who has publicized himself with the claim of sainthood". There was in those days a man who was very famous among the people for his asceticism and abstinence. The attendant reports: "We went to him. When he came out, he spat in the direction of the Qiblah, so Hazrat Ba-Yazid Bistami returned and did not even salute him, and said: "When this man is not secure in the Holy Prophet's Sunnahs and manners, how can he be secure in those miracles which he claims.”

And he said: 'If you see that a man has been given miraculous gifts, so much so that he flies in the air, even then don't be deceived by him unless you see how he is in observing the affirmative dictates and in withholding himself from the negative orders and in guarding the divine limits'.

‘O wise seeker of Truth! See that all these great Shaikhs and top-most experts of the Path revere the holy Shari'ah and base their esoteric sciences on Ahmed's () character and the Hanafite millat (Most Muslims from the Indo-Pak subcontinent base there religious belief on religious laws devised by Imam Abu Hanifa, hence the label ‘Hanafi’ or ‘Hanafite’). This, is so that the darkness of the perverts of the world and the outward appearance of the corrupt mischievous, erring and misleading people may not involve you in deception; they are walking crookedly from the right path and they have deviated from the straight road. These so called ‘ulema’ have gone out of the circle of the Shari'ah.

(Hearing Hazrat Ba-Yazid's talk) all the audience said, "May there be total and complete ruin for those people and for those who follow them, and also for those who regard their path to be good. For it is these people who prevent other people from walking on the right path, and they mix up falsehood with truth and knowingly hide the truth" [Hazrat Ba-Yazid Bistami's Statement]

He states in his Fatawa that a spiritual director should be such a man who possesses minute knowledge of the Shari'ah Tariqah (Path) and the Reality; when he is such, he will not bid for any work contrary to the Shari'ah. [Khwaja Nizamuddin Awlia's Statement]

He says: The success of all religious and worldly works depends only on conforming to the Holy Prophet’s Shari'ah, and the man who has deviated from the path of the Shari'ah can neither be a saint nor the Ghaus (high-ranking saint) of the time.

And the man who says: "We are possessors of the hidden knowledge and we don't need external devotions, so, to believe such a man to be a perfect saint and to become his proselyte despite the absence of all the requisite qualifications is not proper.”[Maulana Abdul-Hayy Lakhnavi's Statement]

Believe salvation to consist in conforming to the Sunnah and in refraining from innovation. Do not associate with the innovators and the atheists, for these people are the thieves of religion. Do not let a Faqih (Jurisprudent) who does not maintain the legal style and is not decorated with the prophetic Sunnah come to your majlis. [Khwaja Ma'soom Sirhindi's Statement]

The sum and substance of this writing is that you fully act upon the following divine statement: -

وَمَا آتَاكُمُ الرَّسُولُ فَخُذُوهُ وَمَا نَهَاكُمْ عَنْهُ فَانتَهُوا وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ

And whatsoever the messenger giveth you, take it. And whatsoever he forbiddeth, abstain (from it). And keep your duty to Allah. Lo! Allah is stern in reprisal. [AL-HASHR (EXILE, BANISHMENT) Chapter 59: Verse 7]

In another letter Khwaja Ma'soom Sirhindi writes, ‘Strive in conforming to the Sunnah. Keep away from innovation and the innovators. Be inclined to the company of the ulema, faqirs and the precisians. Wherever you see anything contrary to the Shari'ah, avoid it and be away from that place. Persian couplet: - ‘Associate with the lovers and choose all lovers. Don't ever be near one who is not a lover.’

And a true lover is he who is firm in conforming to the Holy Prophet . The same reality is being expressed from "Say (0 Muhammad, to mankind): If ye love Allah, follow me; Allah will love you"

In another letter he has written, ‘O brother! Abstain from the company of the heterogeneous and the opponent of the path, and run away from the innovator's majlis.

It is a saying of Yahya bin Ma'az Razi (may his secret be sanctified!) that one should abstain from these three kinds:-

(1) The forgetful ulema,

(2) The hypocritical readers (qurra) of the Quran, and

(3) illiterate Sufis.

Be warned, that you should stay away from the man who is sitting on the spiritual director's masnad (seat), and his actions are not in accordance with the Holy Prophet's sunnah and nor is he decorated with the ornaments of the Shari'ah, him. Rather (as a precaution), don't even live in the same city where such an impostor lives. Lest after some time your heart should incline towards him and the establishment of spiritualism may be disturbed. Such a man is never worthy of power, for he is in reality a hidden thief. Although you may witness different types of abnormal acts and habits in him and may find him apparently unconnected with the world, (never get inclined towards him and) run away from him as one runs away from a lion.

The leader of the group (Sayyid al-Ta'ifa) Junayd Baghdadi (may his secret be sanctified!) says that all roads of success are closed, save the way of that man who follows in the Holy Prophet's footsteps.

It is also the Sayyid al-Ta'ifa's saying that the path of the proximate, truthful ones is in reality connected with the Book and the Sunnah, and those ulema who are active on the Shari'ah and the Tariqah, they are the ulema who deserve to be called the Prophet's heirs. In their words, appearence and practice, they are the Holy Prophets followers.

I state again that you should never, never consider that man a Gnostic who does not care for the prophetic manners and who renounces the Chosen Prophet's practices. Don't ever be enamoured and infatuated by his (outward) retiring from the world, renunciation, thaumaturgic acts and habits, asceticism and reliance on Allah and (oral) unitary points of wisdom.

The pivot of the affair lies in conformance to the Shari'ah, and the matter of salvation is connected with following in the Holy Prophet's footsteps. The discriminative thing between a verifier of truth and a sophist (or humbug) is conformance to the Holy Prophet. Asceticism and trust in Allah and retiring from the world without conformance to the Apostle are unreliable; remembrances and reflections, curiosities (ashwaq) and longings (azwaq) are useless things
without the Holy Prophet's connection.

Thaumaturgic acts and habits depend upon starvation and striving with the unregenerate self. What has it to do with gnosis?

Hazrat Abdullah ibn Mubarak has said that he who showed laziness in the civil mores (adaab), was deprived of the sunnah practices, and he who neglected the Sunnah practices was deprived of the obligatory acts, (Faraiz) and he who despised the obligatory duties, was deprived of gnosis.

People told Shaikh Abul Khayr that such and such a man levitated on water. He retorted, "Yes, a straw also levitates on water" (i.e. it is not something to be proud of). Then it was said: "Such and such a man flies in the air". He retorted, ‘(Well) the fly and the kite also fly in the air.’ Then it was said: ‘Such and such a man goes from one city to another in a moment.’ He said: ‘(What's there in it?) Satan reaches west from the East in a jiffy. There's no value of such things. A man of Allah is in fact he who may associate with the people, may have wife and children and yet may not be forgetful about Allah (may He be more honoured and glorified!) even for a moment!'

Shaikh Ali bin Abi Bakr (may his secret be sanctified!) has said in Ma'arijul-Hedayah that the beauty and perfection of every person, in all matters, apparently, internally, essentially, subordinately, intellectually, practically, habitually and devotionally, lie hidden in consummate conformance to the Apostle.

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