Shaykh Abdullah Bin Bayyah

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“I call upon the Muslims to revive the science of Tasawwuf” On the day of Friday July 10th, 2009, during the second international conference in honor of Sidi Shiker (a well-known Moroccan Wali), Shaykh Abdullah Bin Bayyah invited the Muslims to revive the science of Tasawwuf and to return it to its proper place, by which the sciences of the Din itself may be revived.

Bin Bayyah, who is one of the top scholars of Mauritania (West Africa), also stated in his speech entitled “The Foundations of Tasawwuf in the Book and the Sunnah”, that Tasawwuf (Sufism) is not a separate religion, but rather that it derives from the Qur’an and Sunnah, and that the scholars have developed its principles just as they have developed and derived the principles of Fiqh (Islamic Sacred Law) from those two sources as well.

The Shaykh also addressed in some detail the meaning of Tasawwuf, saying: “This word has become widespread and famous to the point that the meaning it points to has become obscured”, adding that Tasawwuf – like the other Islamic madhahib – was cognizant of the rifts that appeared in the Islamic Ummah, and confirmed that “Tasawwuf is a proof against the Sufi, the Sufi is not a proof against Tasawwuf”. In his definition of Tasawwuf, Bin Bayyah stressed that it is “Ihsan” (spiritual excellence), deriving this from the famous hadith Jibril, and adding that this means to seek perfection, and to have love for and longing towards meeting Allah Most High.

The Shaykh also mentioned that Tasawwuf is one (legitimate) science among the sciences of Islam, and stated that an Islamic science can either focus on the outward aspect, namely the actions of the limbs, which is termed “fiqh”, or it can focus on the inward aspect, namely the purification of the soul, softening of the heart, being inwardly detached from the dunya, and so on, and this is termed “tasawwuf”.

In terms of its Islamic origins, the Mauritanian scholar affirmed that its origins lie in the Qur’an and Sunnah, and quoting numerous verses and hadiths to support this, as well as some of the statements of the early founders of Tasawwuf, such as Imam Junayd who said: “This way of ours is confined within the principles of the Qur’an and Sunnah”.

The Shaykh also depended heavily on many occasions during his speech on the book “Qawa’id at-Tasawwuf” (Principles of Sufism) by Shaykh Ahmad Zarruq (d. 846 H), adding that this Moroccan scholar is indeed the “police” of the Sufis in the entire world.

At the end of his speech, Shaykh Bin Bayyah addressed some of the criticisms against Tasawwuf over history, such as the question of the Shuyukh specifying the dhikrs (and their numbers) for their followers, the use of dhikr beads, the question of Tawassul (using the righteous as a means to gain Allah’s blessings) and Tabarruk (deriving blessings from the relics of the righteous), and visiting the graves of the righteous Awliya, confirming in each point that they have a solid basis in Islam.

Translated from Arabic for ISRA News by: Ibrahim Hakim al-Shaghouri blog

image ISRA delegate Shaykh Manzarul Islam addressing Sidi Shiker Global Sufi Conference in Marrakesh, Morocco

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