Islam and Tasawwuff
Question asked by .
Answered by Siddiq Bukhary

Please write for me a detailed note on what is the concept of Tasawwuff (mysticism) in Islam. I would really appreciate it if your response includes references to the Holy Qur’ān and the Hadīth literature.


First of all, we should know that Tasawwuff has nothing to do with Islam; I therefore am afraid that my response will be devoid of any reference to the Qur’ān and the Hadīth literature. Tasawwuff is in fact a philosophy which revolves around the concept that we are but a part of God and ultimately we shall merge with Him. God is not a physical entity; therefore we need to transform ourselves into beings which are devoid of physical attributes and transcend flesh and matter. In other words, we should emancipate our souls from the desires of flesh and the yokes of whatever is material. For this purpose, the mystics have designed some exercises which vary from nation to nation, religion to religion and individual to individual.

The followers of almost all religions have borrowed this philosophy from the Hellenic schools originally and have adapted it according to their taste, circumstances and local conditions. Similarly, the mystics, who present themselves as followers of Islam, have produced plenty of literature on Tasawwuff and innovated beliefs as well as practices to accomplish their self-perceived goal. However, the point to note is that their notions have nothing to do with—rather are contrary to—the real teachings of Islam based on the Qur’ān and Sunnah.

The underlying objective of Islam is purification of the soul. To achieve this objective, Islam has already given certain guidelines. Its followers therefore need not tread the path of Tasawwuff for salvation, if salvation is what they yearn for.

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