Sufism or Tasawwuf is the science to know about Allah. This is the science by which a man can know(experience) the identity of Allah. Basically,science is of two types, one is material science and the other one is spiritual science. It is a vast spiritual science which is also called Elmul-Qalb, Elme-Mukashfia,Elme-Ladduni, Elme-Marefat. All the prophets,messengers and the Awliya-e-keram(friends of Allah) communicated with Allah by practising Sufism.In sufism,a man by meditation and going through the ascetic spiritual practice can bear the character of Allah by purifying himself and in this way he can attain the excellence of Ashraful-Makhlukat(best of creations).
Sufism is the knowledge to reach Allah.It is the only easy and right path to communicate with Allah.From Hazrat Adam(As.) to the final Prophet Hazrat Muhammad(pbuh), every prophet and messenger communicated with the Creator by practising Sufism.After the age of prophethood being over,the Awliya-e-Keram have continued following that legacy of prophets and messengers in society.The main theme of Sufism is the existence of Allah in the qalb(heart) of a man.In regard to this Allah states in the holy Quran,”I exist in you,don’t you see Me?”[Al Quran-51:22]
Firstly,we’ve to feel an attachment to Allah.Secondly,we’ve to feel an indomitable longing in us for the love of Allah.Then,we’ve to be immersed in profound love with Allah.After that,we’ve to completely surrender to Allah by purifying ourselves.Then,we’ve to communicate with Him(Allah).Afterwards, when we’ll be able to establish communication with Allah,gradually Allah will bestow His mercy upon us.At this stage,Allah will give us guidance to the right path,the path that He wishes.Then,Allah will unveil his mysteries to us one by one.In fact,Sufism or Tasawwuf refers to being qualified with the same quality as Allah.We,the followers of Sufism need to cultivate these qualities of Allah in ourselves by staying in close contact with our Murshid (spiritual guide).
Sufism or Tasawwuf is defined as the mystical practice in Islam that is the inward dimension of Islam.Traditionally,the practitioners of Sufism are referred to as ‘Sufis’ who often belong to different tariqa(spiritual-order).A large congregation of people get formed around a Murshid(spiritual guide) who maintains a direct chain of teachers back to the prophet Hazrat Muhammad(pbuh).The Sufis regard Muhammad(pbuh) as their leader and supreme spiritual guide.
According to the sufi doctrine,there are a number of verses revealed in holy Quran that support Sufism in Islam.The Sufis believe that Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) has said,”every verse in Quran has an exoteric as well as an esoteric aspect.”- a belief clearly is in line with their quest for the Haqiqah(ultimate truth).
In fact,Sufism has its root in the Quran itself as well as in the religious experience of the Prophet Muhammad(pbuh).Carl W. Ernst an academic specialist in Islamic Studies and a well-known researcher of Sufism says,“The Quran, the sacred scripture of Islam, is unquestionably of central importance to any understanding of Sufism.”
Allah says in the holy Quran,”Allah is nearer to him(human) than his jugular vein.”[Al Quran-50:16]
Allah states in another verse of Quran, “He is the first and the last and the manifest and the hidden.” [Al- Quran; 57:3]
There are several other verses in the Quran that certify Sufism in Islam.They’re as follows-
“And He(Allah) is with you wheresoever you may be. And Allah sees all that you do.” [Al-Quran; 57:4]
“Then if you remember Me(Allah), I will remember you .Be grateful to Me, and reject not Faith”
“Those whom I have derailed have no Morshed in their fate.” [Al-Quran; 18:17)
“O the Messenger of Allah!Verily those who are pledging allegiance to you, they are actually pledging allegiance to Allah;the hand of Allah is over their hands.”[Al-Quran;48:10]
” Throne of Allah is in the heart of a Mumin(believer)”.[Al Hadith]
The Prophet(pbuh) said: Everything has a zaher (exoteric aspect) and a baten (esoteric aspect).Body of a man is his zaher and the ruh(soul) is his baten.
A Mumin(believer) is more honorable than Kaba.[Abu Daud Sharif]
The knowledge of Sufis have origin in the holy Quran and Hadith.There are numerous instructions in the Quran suitable for a sufi-seeker with varying levels of spirituality.It satisfies those who are content merely with the exoteric practices,but also bears the most profound esoteric significances for those who desire a closer,more mystical relationship with Allah.
Sufism is the science of direct knowledge from God.Its doctrines and methods are derived from the holy Quran and Islamic revelation.Despite any borrowing and influence from the exterior sources,the essence of Sufism is purely Islamic.It didn’t originate from any persian philosophy,Shiism,Christianity,Buddhism,philosophies of antiquity or any other source.
“Our own heart is the living place of the entire universe’s essence”-Hazrat Farid Uddin Attar(Rh.).
“The distinctive aspects of Sufism can’t be understood by study but only by dhawq(immediate experience)”-Hazrat Abu Hamid Al Ghazali(Rh.)
“For thirty years I sought God.But when I reassessed the situation,I realised that it was he who sought me.”-Hazrat Bayzid Bostami(Rh.)
“The thing we tell of can never be found by seeking;yet only seekers find it.”-Hazrat Mansur Al-Hallaz(Rh.)
” I saw my Lord with the eye of my heart;and I said,”Who are you?” He answered,”you.”-Hazrat Mansur Al-Hallaz.
“If you,the wandering Sufi are looking for the supreme treasure,do not look outside.Look within, and seek that.”-Hazrat Jalaluddin Rumi(Rh.)
The great Reformer,Reviver of Mohammadi Islam Sufi Emperor Syed Mahabub E Khoda Dewanbagi(Rh.) explains Sufism very beautifully and easily to mankind with authentic evidences from Quran and Hadith and his profound wisdom.
Sufi Emperor says that Sufism or Tasawwuf is the science to know about Allah.It’s the science by which a man can know(experience) the identity of Allah.Peach in the worldly life and salvation in the afterlife both comes from Allah.The science by which a man can possess an ideal character;can restrain his six evil-instincts and sayer(spiritual travel) to the higher stage is called Tasawwuf.
The science by which prophets and messengers in different ages reached the highest level of glory is Tasawwuf.Every prophet and messenger was learned in Elme-Tasawwuf(spiritual science).Basically,science is of two types,one is material science and the other one is spiritual science.This spiritual science is a science of great significance because of the fact that by practising Tasawwuf we can earn so much knowledge about different mysteries of the unseen world.
Through the knowledge of Tasawwuf,the prophets and messengers could learn about the consequences of the day of resurrection.The person who can gain this special knowledge of Tasawwuf can spiritually travel from one place to another within a moment.The way we can gain the knowledge of Tasawwuf is called Elmul-Qalb.The prophets and messengers were learned with the learning of Qulb(spiritual heart).
There are illnesses in our soul the way we have illnesses in our body.It has also five senses the way our physical body has and it also needs food to survive.The food of soul is fayez(flow of divine love) and dhikr(remembrance) of Allah.A man,by going through the consistent practice of Tasawwuf,can awaken the five senses of his soul.Then,all his spiritual senses;his spiritual eyes,spiritual ears will be activated one by one.At this stage,Allah reveals the messages of the unseen world to a Sufi-seeker.If the seeker then can reach higher level of spiritual attainment,he can annihilate himself in the existence of Allah.In sufi terminology,this stage is called Fanafillah(self-annihilation).
Allah,the great Sustainer states in the holy Quran,”O Muhammad(pbuh)!When you threw sand on the foe,it wasn’t you but I.”[Al Quran;8:17]
It is notable that in the battle of Badr, the Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) threw a handful of sand on the enemy force to defeat them.The companions of the Prophet(pbuh) saw the Prophet(pbuh) himself throwing sand but Allah in the holy Quran affirms that He Himself threw that sand.In fact,at that time the Prophet(pbuh) was in a state of fana with Allah.The Prophet(pbuh) says in a Hadith that Allah said,”My servant becomes so closer to me by his voluntary prayer that I become his ears by which he hears;become his eyes by which he sees; become his hand by which he holds;become his legs by which he walks.And I grant him right away whatever he prays for and forgive him whenever he begs for.[Tafsir-e-Majahari,first volume,page-58;Bukhari Sharif,second volume,page-963;Meshkat Sharif,page-197]
In Sufi practice,there are basically five ways to communicate with Allah.They are-Fayez(flow of divine love),Kashf(visualization),Murakaba(meditation),Elham(revelation) and dream.So,by these five ways a man can communicate with Allah.
For the guidance of mankind,Allah sent one hundred and twenty four thousands prophets and messengers in this world.All of them had the knowledge of Tasawwuf.Allah sent the Prophet(pbuh) as the leader as well as the best and most glorified ideal for the entire humankind to follow.He was the greatest teacher for the human race.
Allah has given Shariah(external laws) as well as Marifat for the guidance of mankind.Imam Abu Hanifa(Rh.) says,”Fiqah(explanation of Islamic laws) corrects a man’s worldly affairs but Tasawwuf purifies his baten(inner-self).
The holy Quran is complete with both Shariah and Marifat.The prophet Muhammad(pbuh) received the declaration of prophethood from Allah through the knowledge of Marifat or Tasawwuf.
It is by the teaching of Tasawwuf,the Prophet(pbuh) made the barbaric Arab nation into a civilised one.
Being learned with the teaching of Tasawwuf,Hazrat Musa(As.) talked to Allah on the mountaintop of Tur,made a road across the Red Sea with the blow of his stick;Hazrat Ibrahim(As.) was rescued from the burning fire-pit by Allah;Hazrat Daud(As.) could understand the language of birds and animals;Hazrat Solaiman(As.) could travel through the air,Hazrat Isa(As.) brought the dead back to life,gave eyesight to the born-blind;Hazrat Muhammad(pbuh) splited the full moon into two halves with the gesture of his forefinger.The fourth caliph of Islam Hazrat Ali Karamullah broke the iron door of Khamus Fort weighed 850 mounds and fought against the kafirs using it as a shield in left hand.It is observed that Hazrat Ali(R:) was fulfilled with the knowledge of Tasawwuf.Countless miracles happened to him during his lifetime.In the age of Belayet(friendhood),
Great Sufi Saint Hazrat Abdul Kadir Jilani(Rh.) rescued the bride,groom and their companions alive along with the boat that capsized twelve years ago in river;Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti(Rh.) brought a lota of water from the sea of Ana and the sea consequently became dried up;Hazrat Mojadded Al Fesani(Rh.) overthrew the religion Din-e-Elahi introduced by Emperor Akbar;Hazrat Shahjalal(Rh.) crossed the river Surma by laying his prayer-mat on water;Hazrat Abul Fazal Sultan Ahmad Chandrapuri(Rh.) gave eyesight to the blind.All of these Awliya-e-Keram(friends of Allah) performed miracles with their knowledge of Tasawwuf.
Sufi Emperor Hazrat Shah Dewanbagi(Rh.),with his profound knowledge of Tasawwuf,activated the dhikr of Allah,Allah in the heart of billions of people across the world just by touching their heart with his forefinger in the late 20th century and early 21st century.After his demise,his successors four Imams are doing the same following his legacy.
Following the spiritual teaching of Sufi Emperor,a man can completely surrender to Allah and know (experience) the identity of Allah by purifying himself.
Allah states in the holy about the significance of self-purification,”Successful indeed is the one who purifies his soul and doomed is the one who corrupts it.”[Al Quran;91:10-11].
The Prophet(pbuh) said,”Be aware!there is a piece of flesh in human body;if it is pure then the entire body becomes pure and it is impure then the entire body becomes impure.”[Bukhari Sharif:1st volume;Hadith no-50]
Since the inception of creation,the science,practicing which every prophet and messenger became enlightened as well as enlightened the people of their contemporary age to guide them to the right path of peace and salvation is called Sufism or Tasawwuf.In Sufism,a man by performing meditation and undergoing the austerities of a certain sufi order can instill the character of Allah in himself.He can be a representative of Allah in true sense then.He can know about every secret of Allah and this vast universe.Then,he truly can achieve the excellence of Ashraful Makhlukat.
In fact,Sufism is the earliest science of creation.Its practice started as soon as Hazrat Adam(As.) was created by Allah.It has been termed ‘Tajkiya-e-Nafs’ or’Elmul Qulb’ in the holy Quran.And every prophet and messenger encouraged people of their contemporary age to purify their soul from the impurities of sin for peace and ultimate salvation.Tasawwuf has been mentioned in other holy scriptures too but with different terms according to their traditions.Every prophet and messenger instructed human being how to cleanse their soul and enlighten it with the Noor(light)of Allah so it can reflect the supreme existence of Allah.
It has been stated in the holy Quran,”Allah is the light of the heavens and the earth.”[An-Nur;verse-35].Tasawwuf is like the soul of Islam and Shariah is its body.Every human being has two kinds of existence;one is physical existence and the other one is spiritual.There is no value of our physical body if the soul doesn’t exist in it.Without soul,it just turns into a lifeless dead body.
According to the statements of holy Quran and Hadith Allah has given special knowledge of Tasawwuf to each prophet,messenger and the Awliya-e-Keram in the age of Belayet.This is the science by which a man can purify himself;can go closer to Allah;can know about the mysteries of the Creator and His creations and thus he can be a true representative of Allah.
3.The Encyclopedia of Islam
4.Tafsir-e-Sufi Samrat Dewanbagi
-Hazrat Mahabub E Khoda(Rh.)
5.Murshider Darbare Murider Karoniyo-Dr. Syed Arsafm Qudrat E Khoda
8.An unpublished thesis “A Scientific Analyses of the Religious Philosophy of Sufism as Reflected by the Miracles of Sufi Samrat Hazrat Dewanbagi.”-Dr. Muhammad Nasiruddin.
9.An unpublished thesis “A study on the Philosophy of Sufi Samrat Dewanbagi and its Implication in Society.”-Dr.Mehedi Hasan.
[Writer- Director, Coordinator & Problem Solver of Dewanbag Sharif; Director,Al Quran Research Center,Dewanbag Sharif; Assistant Professor,Dept.of Islamic Studies, Fareast International University,Dhaka.]