New Book: Islamic Sufism in the West

Islamic Sufism in the West

by Dr. Aziz EL Kobaiti Idrissi

This book is a study of the phenomenon of Islamic Sufism in the West, which first began by adopting a universalist philosophical form with the Universalist Order of ‘Inayat Khan. Its goal was to be in keeping with the intellectual and political landscape prevalent in the West in the early twentieth century, which used to see Sufism as disconnected from the Islamic religion. This view quickly came into conflict with the reality of Muslim Sufism which appeared with the foundation of the Western branches of the Darqawiyya Shadhiliya. The Western Shadhiliyya tariqas and their different branches took a leading role in changing the understanding of Sufi thought prevalent in the West and directed it and gradually moved it towards its true Islamic basis. One of the most conspicuous of these is the Western branch of the Habibiyya Darqawiyya order which originated in Morocco and brought to the West, particularly the Anglo-Saxon world, the Moroccan form of Sufism based on three elements: the Maliki school in fiqh – based on the practice of the people of Madina, the Ash‘arite creed in theology – to which the people of the Sunna and Community hold – and the Path of al-Junayd in Sufism.

Professor Aziz EL Kobaiti Idrissi

Professor of Arabic Language and Sufi Literature at the Moroccan Ministry of National Education, he is the author of four books about Islamic Sufism in the West and Sufi Literature. He has participated in many international conferences in Morocco, the United States, Egypt, Spain, South Africa, Germany, and Macedonia. He is also the organizer of many sufi gatherings and conferences inside and outside Morocco.

Published in: on November 11, 2012 at 15:35  Leave a Comment  
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The Fourth Rule from the Treatise: قواعد التّصوف‮ ‬ (The Rules of Tasawwuf [Sufism])

The Fourth Rule  from the Treatise:قواعد التّصوف‮ ‬ (The Rules of Tasawwuf [Sufism])1

by Shaykh Aḥmad bin Muḥammad Zurrūq2

صدق التوجه‮ ‬ (Correct turning [towards Allah]) مشروط (is preconditioned) بكونه من حيث‮ ‬يرضاه‮ ‬(wherein it [the turning] must be pleasing to Him), الحقّ‮ ‬تعالى (Al-Ḥaqq Taʿālaa [The Truthful One Who is Most High]) وبما يرضاه (and [it must be] what pleases Him). ولايصح مشروط (That which has been preconditioned is not ṣaḥīḥ [sound]) بدون شرطه (without its condition [being correctly followed]). ‭‬‮قال تعالى: ‬وَلاَ‮ ‬يَرْضَى لِعِبَادِهِ‮ ‬الْكُفْرَ[Allah the Most High has said]: (“He has not sanctioned disbelief for His slaves3”) فلزم تحقيق الإميان (Therefore, the affirmation of Imān [belief is necessary]),‭‬‮قال تعالى: ‬وَإِنْ‮ ‬تَـشْكُرُوا‮ ‬يَـرْضَـهُ‮ ‬لَـكُمْ‮ ‬ [Allah the Most High has also said] (“If you are grateful, He will sanction a thing for you4”),

فلزم العمل بالإسلام (ʿAmal [Actions, Deeds] are requisite in Islam).  فلا تصوف (There is no tasawwuf5 [raising of one’s self to a high degree of spiritual excellence) ‮ ‬إلاّ‮ ‬بفقه‮  ‬(without fiqh [knowledge of Islamic law]), إذ لا تعرف أحكام الله ( since the clear rulings of Allah are not known)  ‮ ‬إلاّ‮ ‬منه‮ ‬ (except through it [fiqh]); فلا فقه (and there is no fiqh) إلاّ‮ ‬بتصوف (without tasawwuf), إذ لا عمل (since there are no actions) إلاّ‮ ‬بصدق (without sincerity) وتوجه (and turning towards Allah); فلا هما (and neither of them [fiqh nor tasawwuf] exist) إلاّ‮ ‬بالإميان (without imān [uncorrupted belief in Allah]), إذ لايصح منهما (since neither of them [tasawwuf or fiqh]) is not ṣaḥīḥ [sound]) دونه (without it [imān]); فلزم الجميع (therefore the joining of them [tasawwuf and fiqh] is necessary), لتلازمها  (because they are inseparable) في‮ ‬الحكم (in regards to legal  rulings), كتلازم االأرواح للأسجاد (in the same way the souls and the bodies are inseparable). ولا وجود لها (They [the souls] do not exist [in this world]) إلاّ‮ ‬فيها (without being in them [the bodies]), كما لا حياة لها (just as there is no life for them (the bodies) إلا بها (without them ([the souls]). فأفهم (So  be aware [of these matter]).

ومنه (In regards to it [this matter]) قول مالك رحمه الله (is the saying of Imām Mālik [may God have mercy on him]):

من تَصَوَّفَ (“He who devotes himself to tasawwuf) ولم‮ ‬يَتَفَقَّهْ (and doesn’t know or understand fiqh) فقد تَـزَنْـدَقَ (becomes a zindīq6 [one who deviates from the correct path]), ومن تفقه (and he who learns fiqh)ولم‮ ‬يتصوف‮ ‬ (and avoids taasawwuf [trying to seek to raise himself to a high degree of spiritual excellence]) فقد‮ ‬تفسق (becomes fāsiq7 [a corrupt deviator from the commands of Allah]), ومن جمع بينهما (while he who joins both of them [tasawwuf and fiqh] together)‮ ‬فقد تحقق(finds the Truth”).

قلت I [Ahmad Zarrūq] say, that تـزَنْـدَقَ‮ ‬الأول (the first person [mentioned] becomes a zindīq) لأنّّـه قال بالجبر (because he discusses al-jabru [fatalism])8 الـموجد لنفي‮ ‬الحكمة والأحكام (which results in the negation of proper judgement and rules).

تُـفَسِّقَ‮ ‬الثاني (The second person [mentioned] becomes a fāsiq), لخلو عمله من التوجه (because his actions are void of turning towards Allah), الحاجبة منهما (which would be the protection for both of them  [both the zindīq and fāsiq]) عن معصية الله (from disobedience to Allah), ومن الإخلاص (and [because his actions] are void of sincerity), الـمشترط (which is one of the required conditions) في‮ ‬العمل لله (in actions [done] for the sake of Allah.

وتَـحَقّقَ‮ ‬الثالث (The third person [that has been mentioned] finds the Truth) لقيامه (because of his steadfastness) بالـحقيقة (in the very action) في‮ ‬عين التمسك بالحق (of cling to the Truth). فأعرف ذلك (So be conscious of that).


1 Ahmad Zarruq explained the reason why he wrote The Rules of Tasawwuf [Sufism] by saying: فالقصد بهذا المـختصر وفصوله تمهيد قواعد التصوف وأصوله وعلى وجه‮ ‬يجمع بين الشريعة والحقيقة ويصل الأصول والفقه بالطريقة (“The purpose of this short treatise and its sections is to simplify the rules and principles of Sufism in a way that brings ash-Sharīʿah (the Sacred Law) together with al-Ḥaqīqah (the true realization of tawḥīd), and to join al-usuul (the principles of the Dīn) and al-fiqh (Islamic law) with at-Ṭarīqah (the Sufī Path).”

Māliki faqih and sufi who has been described as one of the last of those who united fiqh and Tasawwuf. His full name is Ahmed Zarruq (or Sheikh Shihāb ad-Din Abu al-ʿAbbās Ahmed bin Ahmed bin Muhammad bin ʿIsa al-Barnūsī al-Fasī Zarrūq) (1442–1493) was a Shadhili Sufi Sheikh and founder of the Zarruqiyye branch of the Shadhili Sufi order (Tariqa). He was born on the 7th June 1442 (846 of the Islamic ‘Hijra’ calendar) – according to Sheikh Abd Allah Gannun – in a village in the region of Tiliwan, a mountain area of Morocco.[1] He was a contemporary of Muhammad al-Jazuli. He was a Berber of the tribe of the Barnusi who lived in an area between Fes and Taza.

He took the name ‘Zarrūq’ (meaning ‘blue’) and he studied the traditional Islamic sciences such as jurisprudence, Arabic, traditions of the Prophet and wrote extensively on a number of subjects. His most famous works are first of al his Qawa’id al-Tasawwuf (The Principles of Sufism), his commentaries on Maliki jurisprudence and his commentary upon the Hikam of ibn ‘Ata Allah.

He travelled East to the Hijaz and to Egypt before taking up residence in Misrata, Libya where he died in 899 (1493).

Anecdotes of Zarrūq’s childhood, travels and education appear in an untitled fahrasa and Al-Kunnash fi ilm ash, both still in manuscript. Selected passages appear in translation in: Zarruq the Sufi: a Guide in the Way and a Leader to the Truth by Ali Fahmi Khushaim (Tripoli, Libya:General Company for Publication, 1976) (Taken from Wikipedia)

3 Surah Az-Zumar  Verse 7

4 Surah Az-Zumar  Verse 7

5 TasawwufSufism; a systematized form of spiritual training (tarbiyah) which is used to guide individuals towards a proper Islamic attitudes in life, and to guide them towards intellectual and moral elevation in order to overcome the diseases of the lower self (nafs) that prevent spiritual development; tasawwuf is also know as Iḥsān which is the ability to conquer distraction and absent-mindedness in worship, and to perfect worship and ones behavior, by keeping in mind that one, in reality,  is always in the presence of Allah.

6 Zindīq: one who believes in dualism; one who does not believe in the  hereafter; one who does believe in Tawḥīd; one who conceals his disbelief with an outward show of belief; one who is attached to or associated with any form of زَنْـدَقَـة (act of deviation from correct beliefs about Islam).

7 Fāsiq: a transgressor; person who is corrupt; he acknowledges and observes what  is prescribe by the law and also acknowledges its authority, and thereafter falls short in his own observation of some or all of the law; he practices فِسْق (deviation from Allah’s commands; going outside of the limits of the law and obedience)

8 Al-jabru [fatalism] is a false doctrine and deviant view about Allah’s relation with human beings held by Al Jabariyyah a sect found in early Islam: who believe that a person does not have a choice, and nor does he have a free will. And that the doer of every action is Allah!  And that the humans do not have a will and strength over anything [i.e. they are compelled]. he destroys the legislations of the religion, and its creed : and he frees himself of any accountability in front of Allah ; from any sins which he has commits.  So if he fornicated, or drank alcohol, or murdered, he says : I am excused, I am compelled [majbuur].  The followers of this sect say, “The One who gives us faith and who makes us perform acts of worship is Allah. Every action is done under Allah’s compulsion. Man is doomed to his qadar, so no one is responsible for the sins he commits.” And they cite the following Qur’anic verses to corroborate their views:

Allah guides whom He wills and leaves to stray whom He wills. [Ibrahim 4]

If your Lord had willed, all the people on earth would have believed. Then will you force people to become Believers? No one can believe except by the permission of Allah. [Yunus 99,100]

It is Allah who creates you and what you do. [As-Saffat 96]

Published in: on December 27, 2011 at 02:40  Leave a Comment  
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