Could you please give us the Islamic ruling on Sufism?
Answered by Sheikh `Ali b. al-Zahrânî, Professor at Umm al-Qurâ University
Sufism embraces countless different sects. Fundamentally, they are innovators both in there origin and in their name. They are not complying with the Qur’ân, the Sunnah and the practice of the Companions at the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and after his death.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) warned against this when he said: “Whoever innovates in our religion something that is not from it will have it irejected.”
He also said: “Whoever does something innovated will have it rejected.”
There is no doubt that the rites of Sufism and its various brotherhoods never existed at the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him), nor were they known to the Companions. This is clear in spite of the Sufis’ efforts to attribute these practices of theirs to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the Companions.
In this concern, we say whatever we find of good, righteousness, true remembrance of Allah, piety and devotion in Sufism is more evident in pure Islam. Consequently, Sufism in and of itself is useless. We should be satisfied with what the people of the first, most preferable, centuries were satisfied with.
Conversely, whatever Sufism contains of innovations, falsehood and extremisms should be immediately abandoned.
This is a general ruling on Sufism. On the individual level, the ruling will be different from one person to another and from one Sufî approach to another. There are some devoted men in Sufism who are pious and righteous in spite of the fact that they also have fallen into some minor innovations. At the same time, there are some extremists who could be classified as unbelievers on account of their belief in certain false creeds.
Some of them believe that Allah manifests himself in some of His creatures, which is total nonsense. They would even say that the Creator and the creation is the same thing. Some Sufîs have a belief that when worshippers attain a certain level of spiritual awareness, they are exempted from the legal teaching of Islam.
Sufism was one of the catastrophic factors working against the Islamic nation throughout its history. It made people fall into weakness and humiliation. It destroyed the nation’s ability and efforts by its innovations and falsehood. It also engaged people in useless issues and encouraged unemployment, laziness and indolence.