Sufism -- Sufis -- Sufi Orders

Islam's Relationship to Sufism: Approval and Criticism

Although it has had its share of detractors throughout the history of Islam, numerous Muslim scholars have spoken favorably about Sufism. See the article Scholars on Tasawwuf, written by the as-Sunnah Foundation, for both a chronological list of Muslim scholars who have made supportive comments, as well some of their remarks.

Fatwa on Sufism (link fixed 20 Feb. 2008). This fatwa (Islamic legal judgment) concerning Sufism was delivered by Shaykh 'Abd al-Halim Mahmud, a former Shaykh al-Azhar, the chief religious authority in Egypt. Here, Arabic readers can also look at the text of Shaykh 'Abd al-Halim's work (Link fixed 20 August, 2005).

Tasawwuf, variously referred to as Sufism, Islamic mysticism, Islamic spirituality, and Islamic psychology or psychotherapy has suffered at the hands of a sustained critique in the Islamic world during the twentieth century (CE). The article Islamic Sprituality: the Forgotten Revolution (Link fixed 20 August, 2005), by 'Abd al-Hakim Murad, presents the outlines of this critique and responds.

A common criticism of Sufism is that it is bid'ah (innovation) and thus is not authentically Islamic. A response to question Is Sufism Bid'ah? has been written by the American Muslim scholar, Nuh Ha Mim Keller.

One of the criticisms often leveled at Sufis by their fellow Muslims is that they withdraw from social and political activity. This is far from being true in Muslim central Asia, where in Chechnya, for example, Sufis have traditionally been very active in fighting against Russian invaders. This is seen in the following link on Sufis of Chechnya (link fixed 20 August, 2005), which is comprised of numerous quotations from the book Mystics and Commmissars: Sufism in the Soviet Union, by the scholars Alexandre Bennigsen and S. Enders Wimbush. (Back on-line 4/12/98; and links fixed 23 July 2002.)

See also the excellent article The Religious Roots of Conflict: Russia and Chechnya, written by David Damrel, Assistant Professor at Arizona State University, in which the history of the Naqhsbandi, Qaderi, and Uwaysi resistance to the Russian invaders is discussed. (Link fixed 1 October 2000.)

The strongest resistance to the Russian colonization of the Caucasus, including Chechnya, was led by the Sufi, Shaykh Shamyl by Kerim Fenari (link fixed from archive 20 Feb. 2008).

The Debate between Ibn Taymiya and Ibn 'Ata Allah illustrates some of the medieval criticisms of Sufis and their responses.

An on-line critique of Sufism, written by a Salafi Muslim, A. A. Tabari, is The Other Side of Sufism. (Link fixed, 1 October 2000.)

A rebuttal to this critique has been written by a Sufi scholar, Dr. Hesham Bazaraa. It is called The Other Side of Salafism.

Another recent critique of Sufism titled Sufism: The Deviated Path was written by a Muslim, Yusuf Hijazi, and originally published in an extremist Wahhabi Islamic magazine, Nida'ul Islam (link fixed from archive 20 Feb. 2008). A refutation titled Response to a Misleading Article on Islam and Sufism has been written by a Muslim professor of physics, Fariddudien Rice. (Link fixed, June 7, 2002.)

A Fatwa Refuting the Argument that Celebrating the Birthday of the Prophet Should be Prohibited by Dr. 'Isa al-Mani al-Humayri of the Department of Religious Endowments (awqaf), Office of Religious Endowments and Islamic Affairs, Dubai.

Celebrating the Prophet's Birthday (Mawlid) by the As-Sunnah Foundation, contains a links to a variety of informative pages supportive of the celebration of the Prophet's birthday. (Originally I had a link to a site "Mulid in Egypt", that was a beautiful pictorial. But that site is gone has been removed from the internet archive as well.) Very useful site Questions on Mawlid (Celebrating the Prophet's Birthday). Called mawlid, moulid, and milad; though it is often criticized by non-Sufi Muslims, it is nevertheless an important part of the devotional lives of many Sufis and non-Sufi Muslims. This link is to an online book written by the Naqshbandi, Shaykh Hisham Kabbani.

Islamic Research Center presents both sides of a variety of issues involving Sufism, issues concerning which Muslims disagree.

Sufi Music (link fixed 20 Feb. 2008) has had its supporters and detractors throughout Islamic history.

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