What is Sufism? A Formal Explanation

No doubt there is much doubt and confusion surrounding the practice of sufism (tasawwuf). Some of this confusion stems from a number of foreign ideas and practises that have crept into sufism such as “spiritual mentors” or “pirs” abusing their positions and the introduction of certain popular non-religious practises as crowd attractors.
Reading from the work of the great Egyptian Maliki scholar of the 18th century, Imam Dardir, a master in the sciences of Aqida, Mufti Abdur Rahman very simply and convincingly explains what sufism is supposed to be, and provides detailed guidelines for traversing the spiritual path to Allah Most High.

What is Sufism? A Formal Explanation Part 20: The stages of consciousness of Allah


Perfectly intertwining with the statement of the Prophet (may peace and salutations be upon him) “Worship Allah as if you can see Him”, this lecture discusses the three levels of developing consciousness of Allah. The intermediate stage of muraqaba (being mindful of Allah), then mushahadah (stage of witnessing) to the final stage of mu’ayanah (stage of certainty).

What is Sufism? A formal Explanation Part 19: The two types of Dhikr


If you purchased a deserted uncultivated piece of land and wanted to plant some trees there and make a nice garden. Would you exert your effort in clearing out the entire land before planting the trees or would you decide to make a small clearing and start planting first, then clear it? This lecture discusses and highlights the differences between the dhikr of the heart and dhikr with the tongue and the type of dhikr advised for the iniate on the Path.

What is Sufism? A Formal Explanation Part 16: The Sixth Principle of the Path: Voluntary Hunger


In the world that we live in it is understood there is a relationship between events, whereby a cause can create an affect. Similarly, this principle extends to what one consumes in relation to their actions. The lawful (halal) and pure (tayyib) bringing forth the good and righteous deeds, whereas the doubtful and unlawful producing nothing but pollution and evil.

The speaker discusses this in light of the sixth principle of the path: voluntary abstinence from food.

What is Sufism? A Formal Explanation Part 14: The fifth principle, Ahmad al-Rifa’i


Continuing the discussion of mentioning brief biographies of prominent sufis of the past, discussed here is the founder of the Rifa’i Order, Ahmad ibn Ali al-Rifa’i. The Rifa’iyyah, an eminent sufi order that had a great following until the 15th century. Ahmad ibn Ali, known as the Great Ascetic has a number of miracles associated with him and several mystical incidents as mentioned in this lecture.

What is Sufism? A Formal Explanation Part 13: The fifth principle, The Sufis, Junayd al-Baghdadi


Abu ‘l-Qasim Junaid ibn Muhammed al-Bagdadhi is one of the first, most famous, early saints of Islam. He was born and raised in the thriving city of Baghdad, Iraq, centre of the Islamic Caliphate at the time. His excellence has been described as being “like the sun at noon time.” This lecture provides a brief biography along with some of Imam Junaid’s profound words of wisdom.

What is Sufism? A Formal Explanation Part 11: The Fifth Principle Continued (The Spiritual Shaykh)


“The one who wishes to follow the ways of someone then he should do so with those who have already passed away…” (Razeen)

Continuing the discussion of the fifth principle the speaker here mentions signs of a potential Shaykh as mentioned by Imaam Dardir, and how the way is to follow the path of the devout worshippers, those also knowledgeable of the Islamic Law. The people meant here are the early first generation (Salaf us Saliheen) and then of those who followed them in excellence.

The earlier generation were masters in Aqeedah, Ilm and Amal (practises) the likes of Hasan al Basri. The later generation were people who became exclusively known for a particular field. Imaam Dardir categorises the latter generation into 3, each being a notable group of this ummah: those who exerted themselves to provide details of the practical aspect of the Deen, the Fuqaha (the Jurists); the Theologians; and the third group those who exerted themselves in amal and mujahadah, the Sufis.