Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Ever Argued With A Sufi? #1

The Sufi ritual of dance and praising of God

This turned out to be very long. So, I will split into two posts.
I will mention the intro and the major points of argument in this post. In the following post, I’ll mention the rest.

Introduction:

A few years ago I was invited with my family to my university friend’s farm house with her husband and kid. With us was another university friend and his family.

We spent a pleasant time till it was time to pray. Her husband whom we (my other friend and I) barely knew at the time, was going to be the Imam for us (Lead the prayer).

Just before we stood up and started gathering to pray together, we were talking about how weak Muslim nations have become and how we became so spineless in politics…etc.

As her husband was aligning himself towards the Qibla (direction where Mecca city is which has the holy Mosque), he said: ”You know why we are in such a bad state as a nation?”
We said:” The reasons are obvious.”
He said:” It is because there are no more “Awleya Allah AL Saleheen (Wali: friend of God, to be explained later) in these times. So, no one can plead God for us anymore.”.
And then he turned towards the Qibla and started the prayers.

My friend and I looked at each other with a “HUH?! What did he say?” look on our faces, and then started praying.

After the prayer was finished and we sat down again, the guy just fired off with Sufi arguments, why people should be Sufis and follow the Sufi way.
At the start (not wanting to turn the outing into a heated argument) we were very passive and just nodding (only mentioning that what he is saying might not be very true).

Obviously, the guy was ready for this and planned for it. He used many arguments.

I got to know after the outing from my hosting friend that he always does that with people.
I guess he’s trying to make people change their thought into Sufi thought or something.

Anyway back to what happened…
After he started getting obnoxious with some of what he said, both my friend and I started arguing back.
The bad thing is we got the guy cornered more than once and that caused him to get quite aggressive and in sometimes insulting (at one point I was thinking of leaving but I didn’t want to make a scene. So, I just thanked him for one of the insults).

Although we did quite well answering back, but not being in such an argument before made me go back and do some research.

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Before I start mentioning some of the Sufis arguments and what they try to convince people of (muslims), i have to define what a Sufi is and what a Wali is.

  • Sufism is a mystic tradition within Islam that encompasses a diverse range of beliefs and practices dedicated to Divine love and the cultivation of the elements of the Divine within the individual human being. Practitioners of this tradition are known as "Sufis" generally, though some senior members of the tradition reserve this term for those who have attained the goals of the tradition.
  • Wali is a Waliullah or friend of God. Here Wali means friend. Usually these people are members of Sufi (mystic) communities who are considered to have a special relationship with Allah.

Just to clarify a point, there is nothing wrong with Sufism except with a few weird things they say and do.

To make it more understandable, I hereby mention what Sheikh Hamza Yousef (renowned American "Converted to Islam" Preacher whom I find to have excellent Islamic thought):

The means and goals of Sufism is something any Muslim would agree with (dedicated to Divine love and the cultivation of the elements of the Divine), but some of the ways they use (i.e. pleading the dead for things, wiping themselves against graves for blessings, …etc) that has nothing to do with Islam. I stand away from that.”

…and that exactly was our problem with my host's husband argument.

Points of Argument:

  • Per Some Sufis, we can plead and ask Walis (dead or alive) to do things for us or make things happen. It is also ok to go to Mosques which have dead Walis buried in them, and ask those dead Walis to do things for us.

Answer:

We as Muslims take our orders\rulings from 2 sources, Quran and Suna (sayings and doings of the prophet).
We as Muslims are ordered only (and I repeat only) to plead God and no one but Him.

Proofs:
إذا سألك عبادي عني فإني قريب أجيب دعوة الدعي إذا دعاني))

Meaning of the Quran verse (loosely speaking): “Whenever my worshipers ask you (O Prophet) about me, I am close… they should plead me and I will fulfill”.

The verse is very clear, when it comes to pleading for things, God said “I am close”. He did not say: ”Tell them that I am close”. This is a clear message to people that when it comes for asking for things, people should go directly to God and forget any intermediates, just like God answered directly in the verse and said: ”I am close”, He didn’t say” tell them….”.

Another verse from Quran:
(و أن المساجد لله فلا تدعو مع الله أحدا)

The meaning of: “Mosques belong only to God (to worship\plead Him), do not plead anyone but HIM”.

This is too clear to explain!

Also in Suna, the prophet once said:

إذا سالت فسال الله و إذا إستعنت فستعن بالله"

Meaning of: “If you are to ask for something (plead), ask God. And If you need help \assistance, ask God”.

Enough said.

  • There is nothing wrong if people to go to the graves of Walis (built in some Mosques) and wipe their bodies against the tombs for blessings (or their hands and then rub their hands against themselves).

Answer:

The prophet and his followers never did that, where did Sufis get such acts from?
Sufis might argue that people in the time of the prophet used to take blessings by touching him. The answer is easy: “First, he was then alive. Second, he is not a grave!”.

  • They say it is ok for people to go to the Prophet’s grave to ask him to ask God to forgive them. Their argument is built on the fact that when the prophet was alive, Muslims used to ask him to plead forgiveness for them from God (also mentioned in Quran). They say that since prophets and Martyrs never die (per a narration by the prophet and Quran), then he is alive. In other words, people can go ask him for stuff. To prove their point more, some of them say that in the time of Abu Bakr Al Siddik leadership of the Islamic world (the leader after the prophet’s death), the Muslims had a very dry year… the Muslims (with Abu Bakr leading them) went to the prophet’s grave, opened it (ya walad! wa7ayt 7’aletko!?!), and pleaded him to ask God for help (this was used by my host's husband by the way maybe not all Sufis use that).

Answer:

If Sufis say that “Muslims used to ask him to plead forgiveness for them from God”, the answer is that they did that when the Prophet was alive!! Not dead!

Think of it like asking a fellow Muslim to wish the best for you and plead God to bring the best for you (a father asking the best for his kids ring a bell?). So, imagine having the chance the prophet would plead for you. No wonder when he was alive they asked him to do so.

Sufis will say that the prophet is not dead, prophets don’t die. The prophets are alive with God.
The answer is, you are correct but they are in a life called “Al Barzakh”.

  • Defining Barzakh:
    In Islamic eschatology, Barzakh (Arabic: برزخ) is the intermediate state in which the soul of the deceased is transferred across the boundaries of the mortal realm into the spirit world and into a kind of "cold sleep" where the soul will rest until the Qiyamah (Judgement Day). The term appears in the Qur'an.

    Barzakh is a sequence that happens after death, in which the Angel of Death or his helper angels will separate the soul from the body, either harshfully or painlessly depending on how righteous the person was before his death.

So, the prophet (and all whom have passed away) are in al Barzakh. God said in Quran (Mumeneen Sura, verse 2) about the Barzakh:

كَلا إِنَّهَا كَلِمَةٌ هُوَ قَائِلُهَا وَمِنْ وَرَائِهِمْ بَرْزَخٌ إِلَى يَوْمِ يُبْعَثُونَ

تفسير ابن كثير
وَمِنْ وَرَائِهِمْ بَرْزَخ إِلَى يَوْم يُبْعَثُونَ " . وَقَالَ أَبُو صَالِح وَغَيْره فِي قَوْله تَعَالَى " وَمِنْ وَرَائِهِمْ " يَعْنِي أَمَامهمْ . وَقَالَ مُجَاهِد : الْبَرْزَخ الْحَاجِز مَا بَيْن الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَة . وَقَالَ مُحَمَّد بْن كَعْب : الْبَرْزَخ مَا بَيْن الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَة لَيْسُوا مَعَ أَهْل الدُّنْيَا يَأْكُلُونَ وَيَشْرَبُونَ وَلَا مَعَ أَهْل الْآخِرَة يُجَاوِزُونَ بِأَعْمَالِهِمْ . وَقَالَ أَبُو صَخْر : الْبَرْزَخ الْمَقَابِر لَا هُمْ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَلَا هُمْ فِي الْآخِرَة فَهُمْ مُقِيمُونَ إِلَى يَوْم يُبْعَثُونَ .

From the meaning of the barzakh and the verse above it shows that people who pass away are in an intermediate state, they have nothing to do with this life.

How come Sufis think anyone in Barzakh can help, although the Quran was very clear about it?

As for the argument that the prophet does not die,
The prophet does die (as in dies from this world and moves on to the Barzakh life till Judgment day).

God said in Quran:


وَمَا مُحَمَّدٌ إِلا رَسُولٌ قَدْ خَلَتْ مِنْ قَبْلِهِ الرُّسُلُ أَفَإِنْ مَاتَ أَوْ قُتِلَ انْقَلَبْتُمْ عَلَى أَعْقَابِكُمْ وَمَنْ يَنْقَلِبْ عَلَى عَقِبَيْهِ فَلَنْ يَضُرَّ اللَّهَ شَيْئًا وَسَيَجْزِي اللَّهُ الشَّاكِرِينَ

Meaning of (loosely): “Mohammad is a prophet like all the prophets that have passed, If he (the prophet) dies or was\gets murdered\killed you will revert?”

و قول سيدنا أبو كبر بعد وفاة الرسول: "من كان يعبد محمدا فإن محمدا قد مات، و من كان يعبد الله فإن الله حي لا يموت) أو كما قال

Meaning: when the Prophet passed away, Abu Bakr Al Siddik (ruler of Islamic state after the prophet and the prophet’s best friend):

Those of you who worshiped Mohammad, Mohammad has passed away. Those of you whom worship God, God is alive and never dies” (as in: “remember O people…we only worship God and God was\is\will always be there). Even Abu Bakr mentioned that the prophet has passed away and he will no more be available, yet God is always available.

So, yes. Prophets do pass away, from this life.

As for the part about the Muslims opening up the Prophet’s grave and pleading him to ask God for rain…
It was never narrated that the prophet or his followers had ever went to a grave to ask the dead to plead God on their behalf.

I checked Saheh Al Bokhari (one of the main Suna narration books) which my host’s husband said the story was in, and it mentioned that the Muslims on that specific event went to the Prophet’s Uncle and asked him to plead God with them.
Nothing about going to the prophet’s tomb\grave and all that ever happened.

For heaven’s sake, the dead have their sacred stance in Islam, we are ordered to bury them as soon as possible, we are ordered not to harm corps…etc, all that and someone would actually imagine that muslims would open the prophet’s grave (even a little hole)?!!!!!!!!

Wait till you see the next post, there is more bizarre stuff.

Update: Continued at Ever Argued With A Sufi? #2

Mood: To be continued…

4 comments:

Cesario said...

Bravo on the very convincing and well-researched arguments.
I don't know where people get these ridiculous thoughts from. They just deform the image of Muslims everywhere. The thing is if these people were ill-educated or didn't have brains, we would have excused them. All I can say is "Hazbey Allah wa n3m el wakil"

Fadfadation said...

Some of them are engineers, doctors...etc.

Wait till you see the next post, you'll read a few strange facts.

You have to put in mind that there are many Sufi ways...they are not all the same. Some of the are more than fine.

Heya el moshkela fee el 7agaat ely zay what i mentioned here and in the next post.

BuJ said...

wow, a very very thought-provoking post!!! also very high-calibre of writing.. i like it :)

Anonymous said...

Good point, though sometimes it's hard to arrive to definite conclusions