Later Development In Tasawwuf

(Uzma Sagheer Janjua, Islamabad)


During the formative period of Tasawwuf the Sufis were not strictly identifiable in terms of specific orders. Students would gather around a Shaykh - known for the depth of both his knowledge and his piety - where they would often devote themselves to years of learning.

Amongst the outstanding Sufi masters of this period were Hasan al-Basri (d.728), Ibrahim ibn Adham (d.777), Rabia al-`Adawiyyah (d.801), Fudayl ibn "Iyaad (d.803), Ma`ruf al`Karkhi (d.815), Abu "Abdullah al-Muhaasibi (d.857), Sar as-Saqati (d.867), Abu Yazid al-Bistaami (d.874), and Abul Qasim al-Junayd al- Baghdadi (d.910).

The shaykh - murid relationship entailed three important features. The first is the Ilbaas ul-Khirka. This entailed the donning of a patched frock that indicated the aspirant`s initiation into Tasawwuf. The second is known as the Talqin udh-Dhirk which was the shaykh`s instruction to the murid with regard to the type and nature of the dhikr (invocation) to be practiced. The third is the suhba which referred to the nature and quality of the murid`s companionship with the shaykh. These features formed an integral part of the Sufi Way righ from the outset. In fact most of these practises are traceable to the Sunnah of the Prophet (may the peace and blessings be upon him). The teachings of the Sufi masters, along with the different dhikr forms, were handed down from shaykh to murid in a continuous chain of transmission called a silsila. It is through these silsilas - accompanied by the ijaaza system - that the teachings of the Sufi masters were protected as part of our spiritual heritage. The Ijaaza simply refers to the right, or licence, granted to the student by the shaykh with a view to furthering the shaykh`s teachings.

It was, however, only during the 12th and 13th centuries that the Tariqah orders were formalised and officially adopted particular names by which they came to be identified. This does not mean though, that certain gorups were not identified previously with certain great masters. On the contrary, Hujwiri (d.1077) in his classic work the Kash al Mahjub already refers to the followers of some of the great masters by the names of these masters. The followers of Abdullah al-Muhaasibi, for example, he calls the Muhaasibis, those of al-Junayd the Junaydis and so forth.

Nevertheless, the institutionalisation of the Orders really only started with the followers of Sayyid `Abdul Qadir al-Jilani (d.1166). Later on a number of other Orders developed along similar lines such as the Suhrawardiyyah, the Shadhiliyyah, the Naqshabandiyyah, etc.

Despite this proliferation of Sufi Orders, the Sufi path has been identified by most scholars as a threefold process:
The Shari`ah - that is to acquaint oneself with and to meticulously follow the legal rulings of the Shari`ah.

The Tariqah - to engage in various spiritual excersises (such as dhirk) recommended by the Prophet (may the peach and blessing be upon him) and the established adepts of Tasawwuf.

The Haqiqah, that is the attainment of a spiritual consciousness or inner enlightenment that witnesses that all things ultimately come from and belong to Allah.

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آپ کی رائے

مزہبی کالم نگاری میں لکھنے اور تبصرہ کرنے والے احباب سے گزارش ہے کہ دوسرے مسالک کا احترام کرتے ہوئے تنقیدی الفاظ اور تبصروں سے گریز فرمائیں - شکریہ