Negativity towards Tasawwuf implies a lack of confidence in the Qur’an and sunnah

This is a quote from Habib Ali al Jifri’s Book: Wayfarers to God. Buy it on Guidance Media. It’s a read you won’t regret inshaAllah.

I’ll be posting lots of gems from this book inshaAllah. It’s hard for me not to post the whole book!

“…The portrayal of tasawwuf as falsehood, error, shirk, disbelief, and a plot conspired by non-Muslims, means that the people of tasawwuf are people of error, wrongdoing, and shirk– which then implies a lack of confidence in the Qu’ran and a lack of trust in the Qu’ran and sunnah. Why? Because all of our chains of transmission – in our receipt of the Book and the sunnah- include imams of tasawwuf. In an ijaza (license to teach) for one of the recitations among the seven or ten recitations of the noble Qu’ran, it is impossible to report a chain from a sahih hadith, without one of the imams of tasawwuf making up a part of the chain. If they are all in error and all mushriks and people of evil then our receipt of the Qu’ran would be in doubt. This is because our Qu’ranic chains of transmission would then consist of people who are said to be in error and are said to be evil- may Allah protect us from that. It is not possible for anybody to quote a single chain today that leads back to Bukhari or Muslim- to all the books of Hadith-save that chain is adorned with Imams of tasawwuf…If our generations were to research, they would find that all versions come through people of tasawwuf, and thus if they were people of error, then no version of the Qu’ran and sunnah would be reliable and trustworthy. This aspersion goes to the very heart of the Qur’an and sunnah, because it impugns the chain through which we received them. Therefore it is incumbent of Muslims to become aware of this matter.” (p. 74)

I was reflecting upon this passage and I came up with a variety of thoughts. First off, I like, many others had a negative view of Sufism/ tasawwuf before I learned exactly what it was and that it’s derived from the Qu’ran and Sunnah. But my experience is very different. I am not coming from a background of people who denounced it as shirk and the sorts. I was more confused about it. I had the idea first that they were the people who didn’t follow the rules of religion like they drank alcohol, didn’t pray etc. I had nobody to tell me otherwise and I was just confused. Little did I know, those people give a bad name to Sufism and that Sufis actually follow law to the letter mashaAllah.

Then my second encounter with Sufism much later on in life. I asked someone that I looked up to what Sufism was all about. She told me they were “weird” and “really conservative.” She was talking without knowledge and I didn’t know that so I took her word for it. Maybe the Sufis she did know of were “weird’ but still she could have told me that she didn’t know what Sufism was! Muslims have like this disease where they can’t say they don’t know! Oh Well. When I did find out what Sufism was, I was pretty upset that I was in the dark about it for so long.

Habib Ali al Jifri is right. Sufism cannot and should not be ridiculed the way it is. We need to inform people what it actually is and what it’s not.

Habib Ali al Jifri also addresses the non-law abiding Sufis and how this is not an argument against Sufism. It’s like the old”there are bad hijabis so that’s why I won’t wear hijab” argument. That is not an argument against hijab.

“Yes, there are some that have been attributed to tasawwuf- many of whom have been associated with tasawwuf in our times- that have fallen into error and deviated from the way, but that does not warrant aspersions against all Sufis. We have already mentioned that many scholars and narrators of Hadith – and others linked to Hadith have fabricated Hadith about the Envoy of Allah ( May Allah bless him and give him peace) and invented lies about him. Should we then denounce all Hadith, because amongst those dedicated to Hadith, are those who invent lies about the envoy of Allah?… No! The same applies to tasawwuf, we do not denounce it.” (p. 75)

Allahu Alim.



  1. Great post!

  2. asalam alaykum sis , I never thought all sufi’s commit shrik, becuase thats not true , but the thing is I just dont get it with these sufi orders , did the phrophet even do these things ? arnt we supposed to follow what he did and his way ?

    another thing is why call yourself sufi or salafi ?
    why not muslim ?
    why is when your salafi you dont paticulary have an apealing charactor yet whe you are a sufi you have an apealing charactor yet to liberal .
    im sick of stereotypes why not just MUSLIM ?

  3. tradicionalista Said:

    wa alaikom assalam
    jazakAllah khair for your feedback.
    I was writing another post to answer your questions. I don’t know if you were saying this generally, but yes I love Sufism, but I don’t consider myself a Sufi. I haven’t reached that spiritual level yet.
    Stereotyping is bad, but I don’t believe we can do away with the labels.

  4. tradicionalista Said:

    see this post

    inshaAllah that answers your questions

  5. hassan Said:

    Wa alaykum asalaam,

    Nice post! I’ve seen the Wayfarers to God book and thought maybe I should give it a read. I kind of hesitated cause I’m still struggling with the Book of Assistance. I think I’ll give it a read anyhow.

    As a child my impression of Sufis was that they were simple perhaps dimwitted individuals that kept to themselves, because that was what most of those around me thought and harrassed unpopular individuals that kept to themselves. One would hear, ‘Oh such and such is a Sufi.’ Alhamdulillah, I realized in my college years that that was slightly off the mark, to say the least! The masses of Muslims across the world are in a serious state of confusion, subhanAllah!

  6. Umm Hana Said:

    Wayfarers to God is a masterpeice! It is a concept taught by Habib Ali (may Allah preserve him), which is so rare in our times, yet so direly needed.

    He says one of the most dangerous disease within the Ummah of muhammad (salallahu alaihe wasallam) is that one does not follow the traditional islam, rather challenge the scholars of it.

    Anyway, the book is being taught at under the title “Journey to Allah” . Here the original Habib-Ali-Arabic audios are made available to students. The instructor Shaykh Abdul Kareem Yahya who is a translator of many speeches from Habib Ali and Habib Umar (may Allah preserve them all), has also tranlated these lectures of Habib Ali which later took the book form – Wayfarers to God.

  7. saad omar Said:

    salam- thanks for adding the “ghazali project” link to your blog. appreciate it man.

    -saad omar [ghazali project director]

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