FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Many people often raise questions whether or not Ṣūfīsm is Islamic? Whether or not the Ṣūfī practice in Maizbhandar is legitimate or not? Whether or not Ṣūfī practices are bida (culpable innovation)?
The Holy Qur’an is a book āyā (sign). Indeed the holy Qur’an is a book comprised of āyāt al-āyāt (a sign of signs). To comprehend Ṣūfīsm in light of Holy Qur’an, one must for signs provided by Allah, rather than mere reading the verses as text.
Q 1: What is Islamic term for shrines and Ṣūfī?
People use the terms dargâh, mazār and rawdha to refer to Islamic shrines.
- Dargâh is a Persian word that may mean portal or threshold.
- Mazār is an Arabic word to meaning a place for meeting.
- Rawdha means garden of delight as the Holy Qu’ran spells: “as for those who attained to faith and did righteous deeds, they shall be made happy in a garden of delight” (Ar-Rum 30:15).
Q. Does Islam approve Ṣūfī and Ṣūfīsm? They are innovation in name of Islam?
Allah provides concrete indications on the existence of Ṣūfī as the Holy Qur’an terms Ṣūfīs as ḫalīfa (vice-regent), Imām (leader), Awliyā (friends of Allah), Murshid (protector)
Evidence of ḫalīfa: In Sura Al-Baqara (2:30), Allah clearly said to angels that He would send ḫalīfa (representative or vice-regent) to earth
وَإِذْ قَالَ رَبُّكَ لِلْمَلاَئِكَةِ إِنِّي جَاعِلٌ فِي الأَرْضِ خَلِيفَةً قَالُواْ أَتَجْعَلُ فِيهَا مَن يُفْسِدُ فِيهَا وَيَسْفِكُ الدِّمَاء وَنَحْنُ نُسَبِّحُ بِحَمْدِكَ وَنُقَدِّسُ لَكَ قَالَ إِنِّي أَعْلَمُ مَا لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ
“Behold, thy Lord said to the angels: "I will create a vicegerent on earth." They said: "Wilt Thou place therein one who will make mischief therein and shed blood?- whilst we do celebrate Thy praises and glorify Thy holy (name)?" He said: "I know what ye know not." (2:30)
Evidence of Awliyā: Sura Yunus (10:62) mentioned about Ṣūfī as Awliyā (friends of Allah).
أَلا إِنَّ أَوْلِيَاء اللّهِ لاَ خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلاَ هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ
“Behold! verily on the friends of Allah there is no fear, nor shall they grieve”
Evidence of Imām: All Muslims must have Imām as Allah indicates in sura Al-Isra (17:71) that He will call all human beings in the final day of judgment along with the Ṣūfīs as their Imām (leaders)
يَوْمَ نَدْعُو كُلَّ أُنَاسٍ بِإِمَامِهِمْ فَمَنْ أُوتِيَ كِتَابَهُ بِيَمِينِهِ فَأُوْلَـئِكَ يَقْرَؤُونَ كِتَابَهُمْ وَلاَ يُظْلَمُونَ
"One day We shall call together all human beings with their (respective) Imams: those who are given their record in their right hand will read it (with pleasure), and they will not be dealt with unjustly in the least” (Al-Isra 17:71).
Q. Is there any difference between Ṣūfī and common men?
There is a huge difference between Ṣūfīs and common men. Ṣūfīs are blessed with Allah’s nūr (divine light), but common persons are with low self.
The Holy Qur’an provides evidence of nūr in Sura Al-An'am (6:122)
أَوَ مَن كَانَ مَيْتًا فَأَحْيَيْنَاهُ وَجَعَلْنَا لَهُ نُورًا يَمْشِي بِهِ فِي النَّاسِ كَمَن مَّثَلُهُ فِي الظُّلُمَاتِ لَيْسَ بِخَارِجٍ مِّنْهَا كَذَلِكَ زُيِّنَ لِلْكَافِرِينَ مَا كَانُواْ يَعْمَلُونَ
“Can he who was dead. To whom We gave life. And a Light (nūr) whereby He can walk amongst men. Be like him who is In the depths of darkness, From which he can Never come out? (6:122)
In Sura At-Tin (95:5), Allah mentions that common men as “asfala safileena” who possess the lowest of low self.
ثُمَّ رَدَدْنَاهُ أَسْفَلَ سَافِلِينَ
“and thereafter We reduce him to the lowest of low” (95:5)
Q. Ṣūfī rituals, practices and Tarīqah are bida (culpable innovation). Does Islam not approve any innovation beyond sharī‛ah?
In Sura Al-Ma'idah (5:48), Allah advises Muslims to pursue and combine both sharī‛ah (Law) and minhāğ (Open Way) in their prayers.
الْحَقِّ لِكُلٍّ جَعَلْنَا مِنكُمْ شِرْعَةً وَمِنْهَاجًا وَلَوْ شَاء اللّهُ لَجَعَلَكُمْ
“Allah has prescribed a Law (sharī‛ah ) and an Open Way (minhāğ)”? (5:48).
It is from the minhāğ, the Ṣūfīs from their spiritual understanding of the Holy Qur’an develop Tarīqah (spiritual path and order) a way of life to search Allah.
Some Islamic scholars disapprove tarīqah as bida (culpable innovation) because Tarīqah are formulated by human Ṣūfī. If this is the case, then all interpretations and tafsirs of the Holy Qur’an by shari’ah scholars becomes bida.
Q. Is construction of shrine approved by Allah?
The principle upon which the shrines are constructed is based on the Qur’anic dictum to construct house of worship (masjhid) on the grave of spiritual persons to commemorate their memory. In Al-Kahf (18:21), Allah says,
وَكَذَلِكَ أَعْثَرْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ لِيَعْلَمُوا أَنَّ وَعْدَ اللَّهِ حَقٌّ وَأَنَّ السَّاعَةَ لَا رَيْبَ فِيهَا إِذْ يَتَنَازَعُونَ بَيْنَهُمْ أَمْرَهُمْ فَقَالُوا ابْنُوا عَلَيْهِم بُنْيَانًا رَّبُّهُمْ أَعْلَمُ بِهِمْ قَالَ الَّذِينَ غَلَبُوا عَلَى أَمْرِهِمْ لَنَتَّخِذَنَّ عَلَيْهِم مَّسْجِدًا
AND IN THIS way have We drawn [people's] attention to their story, so that they might know - whenever they debate among themselves as to what happened to those [Men of the Cave] that God's promise [of resurrection] is true, and that there can be no doubt as to [the coming of] the Last Hour. And so, some [people] said: "Erect a building in their memory; God knows best what happened to them." Said they whose opinion prevailed in the end: "Indeed, we must surely raise a house of worship in their memory!" (18:21)
Q. Is prostration (sajdah) in shrine is sin?
The holy Qur’an provides two types of prostration (sajdah): One is to Allah (Sajdah-e-Ibadah), and the other is for reverence (Sajdah-e-Ta’azeem). So, it is the purpose and meaning of the prostration that defines meaning of prostration. One has to extremely careful in drawing the distinction between the two which must be clearly understood and maintained.
- Sajdah-e-Ibadah: The first type of prostration is only to Allah as mentioned in sura An-Nahl (16:49)
وَلِلّهِ يَسْجُدُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الأَرْضِ مِن دَآبَّةٍ وَالْمَلآئِكَةُ وَهُمْ لاَ يَسْتَكْبِرُونَ
For, before God prostrates itself all that is in the heavens and all that is on earth - every beast that moves, and the angels: [even] these do not bear themselves with false pride (16:49)
- Sajdah-e-Ta’azeem: The second type of prostration can be given to spiritual persons to show respect and reverence. The Holy Qur’an provides two examples.
Example 1: Prostration or bow to Adam
Allah ordered Angels to prostrate first human being Adam as stated in Al-Hijr (15:29)
فَإِذَا سَوَّيْتُهُ وَنَفَخْتُ فِيهِ مِن رُّوحِي فَقَعُواْ لَهُ سَاجِدِينَ
“and when I have formed him fully and breathed into him of My spirit, fall down before him in prostration!” (15:29)
Example 2: Prostration or bow to Prophet Yusuf
In Sura Yusuf (12:100), Allah mentions that Prophet Yusuf received the prostration from his parent.
وَرَفَعَ أَبَوَيْهِ عَلَى الْعَرْشِ وَخَرُّواْ لَهُ سُجَّدًا وَقَالَ يَا أَبَتِ هَـذَا تَأْوِيلُ رُؤْيَايَ مِن قَبْلُ قَدْ جَعَلَهَا رَبِّي حَقًّا وَقَدْ أَحْسَنَ بَي إِذْ أَخْرَجَنِي مِنَ السِّجْنِ وَجَاء بِكُم مِّنَ الْبَدْوِ مِن بَعْدِ أَن نَّزغَ الشَّيْطَانُ بَيْنِي وَبَيْنَ إِخْوَتِي إِنَّ رَبِّي لَطِيفٌ لِّمَا يَشَاء إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْعَلِيمُ الْحَكِيمُ
And he raised his parents high on the throne (of dignity), and they fell down in prostration, (all) before him. He said: "O my father! this is the fulfillment of my vision of old! Allah hath made it come true! He was indeed good to me when He took me out of prison and brought you (all here) out of the desert, (even) after Satan had sown enmity between me and my brothers. Verily my Lord understandeth best the mysteries of all that He planneth to do, for verily He is full of knowledge and wisdom. (12:100)
Q. Islam does not approve Music and song?
Nowhere in the Holy Qur’an Allah banned music and song. Rather Allah encouraged to performs music. As a part tarīqah, many Ṣūfīs use music (samā), dance and meditation (zīkr) for recalling Allah. The Ṣūfī justification for composing, using, and listening to samā comes from jabur (sacred songs) as Allah mentioned in Sura An-Nisa (4:163), Al-Isra (17:55), Sura Al-Anbiya (21:105).
Islamic scholars who think that Allah has forbidden music draw their argument from Sura Luqman (31:6). This sura mentions about idle talk or play of words. These scholars consider songs and music as idle talk which is wrong interpretation of the Holy Qur’an. Sura Luqman spells:
وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَشْتَرِي لَهْوَ الْحَدِيثِ لِيُضِلَّ عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ وَيَتَّخِذَهَا هُزُوًا أُولَئِكَ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ مُّهِينٌ
But among men there is many a one that prefers a mere play with words [to divine guidance], so as to lead [those] without knowledge astray from the path of God, and to turn it to ridicule: for such there is shameful suffering in store (31:6)