Sufism In The Hadiths

By Paul Salahuddin Armstrong

Narrated Abu Huraira: One day while the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was sitting in the company of some people, (The angel) Gabriel (peace be upon him) came and asked, “What is faith?” Allah’s Apostle (peace and blessings be upon him) replied, ‘Faith is to believe in Allah, His angels, (the) meeting with Him, His Apostles, and to believe in Resurrection.” Then he further asked, “What is Islam?” Allah’s Apostle (peace and blessings be upon him) replied, “To worship Allah Alone and none else, to offer prayers perfectly to pay the compulsory charity (Zakat) and to observe fasts during the month of Ramadan.” Then he further asked, “What is Ihsan (perfection)?” Allah’s Apostle (peace and blessings be upon him) replied, “To worship Allah as if you see Him, and if you cannot achieve this state of devotion then you must consider that He is looking at you.” Then he further asked, “When will the Hour be established?” Allah’s Apostle (peace and blessings be upon him) replied, “The answerer has no better knowledge than the questioner. But I will inform you about its portents.

1. When a slave (lady) gives birth to her master.
2. When the shepherds of black camels start boasting and competing with others in the construction of higher buildings. And the Hour is one of five things which nobody knows except Allah.

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) then recited: “Verily, with Allah (Alone) is the knowledge of the Hour–.” (31. 34) Then that man (Gabriel, peace be upon him) left and the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) asked his companions to call him back, but they could not see him. Then the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “That was Gabriel (peace be upon him) who came to teach the people their religion.” Abu ‘Abdullah said: He (the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him) considered all that as a part of faith.

Sahih Bukhari volume 1, hadith 47

Narrated Abu Huraira: One day while Allah’s Apostle (peace and blessings be upon him) was sitting with the people, a man came to him walking and said, “O Allah’s Apostle. What is Belief?” The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Belief is to believe in Allah, His Angels, His Books, His Apostles, and the meeting with Him, and to believe in the Resurrection.” The man asked, “O Allah’s Apostle. What is Islam?” The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) replied, “Islam is to worship Allah and not worship anything besides Him, to offer prayers perfectly, to pay the (compulsory) charity, i.e. Zakat, and to fast the month of Ramadan.” The man again asked, “O Allah’s Apostle. What is Ihsan (i.e. perfection or benevolence)?” The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Ihsan is to worship Allah as if you see Him, and if you do not achieve this state of devotion, then (take it for granted that) Allah sees you.” The man further asked, “O Allah’s Apostle. When will the Hour be established?”

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) replied, “The one who is asked about it does not know more than the questioner does, but I will describe to you its portents. When the lady slave gives birth to her mistress, that will be of its portents; when the bare-footed naked people become the chiefs of the people, that will be of its portents. The Hour is one of five things which nobody knows except Allah. Verily, the knowledge of the Hour is with Allah (alone). He sends down the rain, and knows that which is in the wombs.” (31.34) Then the man left. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Call him back to me.” They went to call him back but could not see him. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “That was Gabriel (peace be upon him) who came to teach the people their religion.”

Sahih Bukhari volume 6, hadith 300

Narrated Abdullah ibn Umar ibn al-Khattab: It is narrated on the authority of Yahya ibn Ya’mar that the first man who discussed Qadr (Divine Decree) in Basrah was Ma’bad al-Juhani. Humayd ibn AbdurRahman al-Himyari and I set out for Pilgrimage or for Umrah and said: Should it so happen that we come into contact with one of the Companions of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) we shall ask him about what is talked about Taqdir (Division Decree). Accidentally we came across Abdullah ibn Umar ibn al-Khattab, while he was entering the mosque. My companion and I surrounded him. One of us (stood) on his right and the other stood on his left. I expected that my companion would authorize me to speak. I therefore said: AbuAbdurRahman! There have appeared some people in our land who recite the Holy Qur’an and pursue knowledge. And then after talking about their affairs, added: They (such people) claim that there is no such thing as Divine Decree and events are not predestined. He (Abdullah ibn Umar) said: When you happen to meet such people tell them that I have nothing to do with them and they have nothing to do with me. And verily they are in no way responsible for my (belief). Abdullah ibn Umar swore by Him (the Lord) (and said): If any one of them (who does not believe in the Divine Decree) had with him gold equal to the bulk of (the mountain) Uhud and then, it (in the way of Allah), Allah would not accept it unless he affirmed his faith in Divine Decree. He further said: My father, Umar ibn al-Khattab, told me: One day we were sitting in the company of Allah’s Apostle (peace and blessings be upon him) when there appeared before us a man dressed in pure white clothes, his hair extraordinarily black. There were no signs of travel on him. None amongst us recognized him. At last he sat with the Apostle (peace and blessings be upon him) He knelt before him placed his palms on his thighs and said: Muhammad, inform me about al-Islam. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said: Al-Islam implies that you testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah, and you establish prayer, pay Zakat, observe the fast of Ramadan, and perform pilgrimage to the (House) if you are solvent enough (to bear the expense of) the journey. He (the inquirer) said: You have told the truth. He (Umar ibn al-Khattab) said: It amazed us that he would put the question and then he would himself verify the truth. He (the inquirer) said: Inform me about Iman (faith). He (the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him) replied: That you affirm your faith in Allah, in His angels, in His Books, in His Apostles, in the Day of Judgment, and you affirm your faith in the Divine Decree about good and evil. He (the inquirer) said: You have told the truth. He (the inquirer) again said: Inform me about al-Ihsan (performance of good deeds). He (the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him) said: That you worship Allah as if you are seeing Him, for though you don’t see Him, He, verily, sees you. He (the enquirer) again said: Inform me about the hour (of the Doom). He (the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him) remarked: One who is asked knows no more than the one who is inquiring (about it). He (the inquirer) said: Tell me some of its indications. He (the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him) said: That the slave-girl will give birth to her mistress and master, that you will find barefooted, destitute goat-herds vying with one another in the construction of magnificent buildings. He (the narrator, Umar ibn al-Khat hadithsha tab) said: Then he (the inquirer) went on his way but I stayed with him (the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him) for a long while. He then, said to me: Umar, do you know who this inquirer was? I replied: Allah and His Apostle knows best. He (the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him) remarked: He was Gabriel (the angel, peace be upon him). He came to you in order to instruct you in matters of religion.

Sahih Muslim hadith 1

We should always seek to better ourselves! A true believer is one who strives to know his Lord, to please his Lord and strives to do good, leaving bad ways behind. The path of Islam isn’t just reading namaz (daily prayers), paying zakat/sadaqah (charitable contributions) and fasting during the month of Ramadan! Though these are of course, greatly beneficial and rewarding actions, when performed with pure intentions.

If we reflect upon the lives of the companions of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him: We cannot fail to realise our tremendous shortcomings in comparison to them! They were true Muslims (obedient to God), true Mumins (believers) and true Muhsins (people of excellence). A Muhsin is a believer of such spiritual perfection, so deeply conscious of God, it’s as though they see God!

To this end, Tasawuf (Sufism) was developed by the early Muslims, the science of purification of the soul. Many people are unfortunately unaware of this reality of Islam, resulting in much confusion. Sufism can be traced back to the earliest days of Islam. Though not known by this label during the earliest years; as indeed many sciences of Islam weren’t; it’s not difficult to find strong evidence for the authenticity, of what later became known as Tasawuf or Sufism. Those who have a different interpretation, shouldn’t take this evidence lightly. After all, which is the more logical course of action for a Muslim to take: To follow authentic traditions from the earliest days of Islam, with evidences in the Holy Qur’an, Ahadith (narrations of the Prophet, pbuh), and the earliest literature of Islam; or modern ideologies no more than 200 years old?

Sufism was taught by the most respected companions of the Prophet, peace be upon him, and among the greatest scholars of Islam such as Caliph Abu Bakr As-Sadiq (may Allah accept him), Imam Ali (may Allah accept him), Salman Al Farsi (may Allah accept him), Imam Jafar As-Sadiq (may Allah accept him), Imam Malik (may Allah reward him), Imam Ghazali (may Allah reward him) and the list goes on… These are the very same people, who transmitted Islam on to future generations, without whom the teachings of Islam would have been lost in the midst of time.

One of these, Imam Malik, is reported to have said: “whoever studies Jurisprudence and didn’t study Sufism will be corrupted; and whoever studied Sufism and didn’t study Jurisprudence will become a heretic; and whoever combined both will reach the Truth.” [the scholar ‘Ali al-Adawi , vol. 2, p 195.]

5 Responses to Sufism In The Hadiths

  1. sufism and islam are dependent on one another, like body and soul of human being. No man can be without integration of soul and body, sufism to islam is a replica of soul to body. Sufism is the soul while islam is the body.

  2. maryam says:

    Sufism teaches you to love Allah unconditionally but then I have heard some sufi quotes stating that love Allah for Allah not for fear of hell or pleasure of paradise but Allah tells us to fear him so whats right here?

    • mohammed yusuf says:

      Allah says to fere him for those who do wrong…… But if you are doing right things and if you love allah without thinking about paradise or hell he will show his magic more than you expert…

      • Abdullah Jobair says:

        Everyone has to love and fear Allah, the Almighty. Sufis mean that I fear Allah, not his punishment. I desire His love, I do not desire Jannah. If He grant me Jannah it will be His blessing and if He grant me Hell, it will be for my deeds. Above all, we love Allah. As Shaykh Jilani says: O Lord! I am in love I will be happy in even hell bound with rope, If only you say: O Mad! what’s your Matter?’
        I’m not very good at english. this is what I think. Thanks.
        I’m looking for the translation of Qushayri’s Risala by Rabia Harris and another By Barbara Von Shelgell. Can anyone help me with a pdf link? please send me in my e-mail.

  3. Quddus A. Rahiman says:

    Worshiping Allah with fear of hell or expecting hevan is not worsiip in real sense. one worship as if “Allah watching is me” is real worship.

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