Taṣawwuf in Islam

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Bibliographic Information
Journal Al-Iʿjaz Research Journal of Islamic Studies and Humanities
Title Taṣawwuf in Islam
Author(s) Sodhar, Aijaz Ali, Aijaz Ali Khoso
Volume 2
Issue 2
Year 2018
Pages 1-16
Full Text Crystal Clear mimetype pdf.png
Keywords Taṣawwuf, Ṣufīsm, Pledge, Sunnah, Nafs, Iḥsān
Chicago 16th Sodhar, Aijaz Ali, Aijaz Ali Khoso. "Taṣawwuf in Islam." Al-Iʿjaz Research Journal of Islamic Studies and Humanities 2, no. 2 (2018).
APA 6th Sodhar, A. A., Khoso, A. A. (2018). Taṣawwuf in Islam. Al-Iʿjaz Research Journal of Islamic Studies and Humanities, 2(2).
MHRA Sodhar, Aijaz Ali, Aijaz Ali Khoso. 2018. 'Taṣawwuf in Islam', Al-Iʿjaz Research Journal of Islamic Studies and Humanities, 2.
MLA Sodhar, Aijaz Ali, Aijaz Ali Khoso. "Taṣawwuf in Islam." Al-Iʿjaz Research Journal of Islamic Studies and Humanities 2.2 (2018). Print.
Harvard SODHAR, A. A., KHOSO, A. A. 2018. Taṣawwuf in Islam. Al-Iʿjaz Research Journal of Islamic Studies and Humanities, 2.


Sufism is an important branch of Islam. Sufism is nothing other than Islamic teachings. Because of Sufism, human beings can correct their outward actions as well as inward actions. This requires a spiritual guide to achieve this goal. Without a spiritual guide, common man cannot reach this point. Therefore, the common man should have allegiance to a spiritual guide. Pledge is a Sunnah process. Some psychic and greedy people have joined the ranks of Sufism and have dropped the value ​​of Sufism and Taṣawwuf in the eyes of the people and have incorporated innovations within Sufism. The public became abhorrent from Sufism. That is why, Sufism itself was declared wrong. The fact is that there are some bad people in the Sufism. Those people are wrong but Sufism cannot be blamed for this. Sufism is present in other religions besides Islam. In order to understand Sufism, it is necessary to read the terms and conditions of this knowledge so that the reality of Sufism is revealed.

Taṣawwuf or Sufism has existed in every nation of the world since ancient times, Taṣawwuf or Sufism is present in every religion and every nation, but its qualities and practices have been different. As some temporal and secularist people entered in the ranks of true Aalims and scholars of outward knowledge. In the same way, some evil, psychic, voluptuary and selfish people entered the rank of right Sufis and true Mashāʾikh (مشائخ). It is because of these people that the public have become abhorrent from the true and right spiritual guides and Sufis. One class has made it mandatory by stepping into allegiance and essential. In their eyes, obligation and liabilities have not been so important and the other class begun to oppose Taṣawwuf as misguided. They started calling the right spiritual guides and Sufis misleader, profaner and infidel. Not only did this, but also blamed the true spiritual guides of calling for innovations and promotion of personality and misleading people. Some extremists have even imposed a blasphemy on the right spiritual guides and Sufis. As a result, the true spiritual guides and Mashāʾikh begun to try to explain the Taṣawwuf to the public.

When a person suffers from ailments, there are doctors who are experts in the treatment of these physical ailments. Can't the soul feel sick? Almighty Allāh has revealed the knowledge of the cure of diseases within man. Is there any cure for the diseases of the soul? Every wise human being is aware that just as there are diseases in the body, so does the soul at risk of diseases.

The Prophets (عليهم السلام) were experts in the treatment of the diseases of the human soul. Scholars are the heirs of the knowledge of the Prophets (عليهم السلام), then after the Prophets (عليهم السلام), the scholars are experts in the treatment of the diseases of the soul. This treatment for spiritual ailments is called Sufism or Taṣawwuf. This is not to say that the heirs of the unbelievers inherit everything in the inheritance. This shows that the scholars and Mashāʾikhwho are experts in the outward sciences and the inward sciences of the Sharīʿah have inherited these things from the Prophets (عليهم السلام).

Taṣawwuf is the knowledge and fun which leads to the perception of esoteric and exoteric states, the purification of souls and the purgation of morals to help attain external salvation- Allāh’s nearness and pleasure. Its rudiment is purification, the purgation and the reformation of the inner self while its ultimate purpose is the attainment of external bliss.1

Anything that goes opposite of the Almighty Allāh’s order or Prophet’s (ﷺ) Sunnah or create a new thing in Islam is called Gunnah (sin). These sins are done with outward and inward of human being. This is done openly or concealed is equal in being a sin.2

The purpose of Sufism or Taṣawwuf is correction of intention. When the intention of a human being is accurate then the outward and inward actions will also be correct. Inner purification was the part of pious education of Islam. The holy Prophet (ﷺ) also educated this to his companions (رضي الله عنہم) and they provided their lives as a model.3 Origin of Sufism isإنما الاعمال بالنيات and its completion isأن تعبد الله کأنک تراه . Mysticism is nothing more than that. The desire of Islam is also Mysticism. For example, in prayer humility is required. Sincerity is required in every process and action. So Mysticism and Sufism gives a man access to this desired of Islam. A man uses to make his habit in mention of Allāh, strivings and meditations etc to achieve this desired. All this hard work is the quest for the intended of Islam. Forebears righteous and hierarchs named it Taṣawwuf or Sulūk. The origin of Taṣawwuf إنما الاعمال بالنيات has been encouraged in the Aḥadīth of the Holy Prophet (ﷺ) and in the Holy Qurʾān and the completion أن تعبد الله کأنک تراه is also been encouraged in the Aḥadīth of the holy Prophet (ﷺ) and in the Holy Qurʾān. This is very much present in the Aḥadīth. The name of this completion is Iḥsān (احسان). The human soul generally likes ease in every work and action. It finds difficulty and burden in following Islamic behests and it feels uncomfortable in worship.

By doing these actions, the substance of the suffering will disappear and become the physical and heart desire of the human being. When this condition is created inside a man, all his acts of worship, actions and also his entire life will be affected by this condition. The Sharīʿah is to bow down and Taṣawwuf or Sulūk are to meditate. The head is almost always bowed before someone, but even if it bows by heart, it happens rarely. A bent head sometimes wakes up due to some reasons. Sometimes it revolts also. It feels tired to follow the rules of the Sharīʿah. Sometimes seeks the path to escape, but when it will bow by heart, it will never feel discomfort or unhappiness. Following the divine commands, worship and remembrance will be medicine of the heart and food of the soul. At that time, the condition of the man becomes that the work which he had suffered before, he will feel happiness and will not live longer without doing so.

عن أبي هريرة قال:كان النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم بارزا يوما للناس فأتاه جبريل فقال: ما الإيمان؟ قال: الإيمان أن تؤمن بالله وملائكته وبلقائه ورسله وتؤمن بالبعث، قال: ما الإسلام؟ قال: الإسلام أن تعبد الله ولا تشرك به شيئا، وتقيم الصلاة، وتؤدي الزكاة المفروضة، وتصوم رمضان، قال: ما الإحسان؟ قال: أن تعبد الله كأنك تراه فإن لم تكن تراه فإنه يراك، قال: متى الساعة؟ قال: ما المسئول عنها بأعلم من السائل، وسأخبرك عن أشراطها إذا ولدت الأمة ربها، وإذا تطاول رعاة الإبل البهم في البنيان في خمس لا يعلمهن إلا الله، ثم تلا النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم: إن الله عنده علم الساعة، ثم أدبر فقال: ردوه، فلم يروا شيئا، فقال: هذا جبريل، جاء يعلم الناس دينهم قال أبو عبد الله: جعل ذلك كله من الإيمان.4

Narrated Ḥazrat Abū Hurairahh (رضي الله عنہ) (600-678): One day while the Prophet (ﷺ) was sitting in the company of some people, (The angel) Gabriel came and asked, what is faith?  Allāh's Prophet (ﷺ) replied, 'Faith is to believe in Allāh, His angels, (the) meeting with Him, His Prophets (عليهم السلام) and to believe in Resurrection. Then he asked, what is Islam?  Allāh's Prophet (ﷺ) replied, to worship Allāh Almighty alone and none else, to offer prayers perfectly, to pay the Zakat and to observe fasts during the month of Ramadan. Then he further asked, what is Iḥsān (perfection)? Allāh's Prophet (ﷺ) replied, to worship Allāh Almighty as if you see Him, and if you cannot achieve this state of devotion then you must consider that He is looking at you.  Then he further asked, when will the Hour be established? Allāh's Prophet (ﷺ) replied, the questioner knows better than the answerer, but I will inform you about its symptoms. 1. When a slave (lady) gives birth to her master. 2. When the shepherds of black camels start boasting and competing with others in the construction of higher buildings and the Hour is one of five things which nobody knows except Allāh Almighty. The Prophet (ﷺ) then recited: Verily, with Allāh Almighty (Alone) is the knowledge of the Hour. (Luqman: 34) Then that man (Gabriel) left and the Prophet (ﷺ) asked his companions (رضي الله عنہم) to call him back, but they could not see him. Then the Prophet (ﷺ) said, that was Gabriel who came to teach the people their religion.  Abū 'Abdullah said: He (the Prophet (ﷺ) considered all that as a part of faith.

This Hadīth is well known as Hadīth Gabriel. This Hadīth contains the summary of Islam.

Allāh says in the Qurʾān: وذروا ظاهر الاثم وباطنهؕ ان الذین یکسبون الاثم سیجزون بما کانوا یقترفون5 and leave outward sin and inward sin, Surely, those who commit sin shall be punished for what they used to commit.

From the words and teachings of the righteous forebears, scholars, saints and Sufi people it is clear that Taṣawwuf is the name of the struggle and effort to achieve the Iḥsān (احسان) which is mentioned in the Hadīth mentioned above. Sufism is the name of a diligent attempt to reach the destination from bowing head to bending heart because of this Taṣawwuf. The statuses of thousands and millions of people have changed. Their hearts and souls themselves make them self-righteous on the rules of Sharīʿah and make them righteous.

عن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه قال: قال النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول الله تعالى:  أنا عند ظن عبدي بي، وأنا معه إذا ذكرني، فإن ذكرني في نفسه ذكرته في نفسي، وإن ذكرني في ملإ ذكرته في ملإ خير منهم، وإن تقرب إلي بشبر تقربت إليه ذراعا، وإن تقرب إلي ذراعا تقربت إليه باعا، وإن أتاني يمشي أتيته هرولة6

Narrated Abū Hurairah (رضي الله عنہ): The Prophet (ﷺ) said,   Allāh says: "I am just as My slave thinks I am, (i.e. I am able to do for him what he thinks I can do for him) and I am with him if He remembers Me. If he remembers Me in himself, I too, remember him in Myself; and if he remembers Me in a group of people, I remember him in a group that is better than they; and if he comes one span nearer to Me, I go one cubit nearer to him; and if he comes one cubit nearer to Me, I go a distance of two outstretched arms nearer to him; and if he comes to Me walking, I go to him running."  

عن أبي هريرة أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال رب أشعث مدفوع بالأبواب لو أقسم على الله لأبره7

Abū Hurairah (رضي الله عنہ) reported Allāh's Messenger (ﷺ‌) as saying: Many a people with disheveled hair are driven away from the door (but they are so pious) that if they are to swear in the name of Allāh, He would definitely fulfill that.

Man can get this status by hard work.8 According to the people of Sufism and the true spiritual guides, the attainment of Sufism is the perfect adherence to the Holy Prophet (ﷺ) and the pleasure of Allāh Almighty. This is actually the spirit of Sufism. If a person got this thing, it would be as if he had got the soul of Sufism. Even if he is unfamiliar with the name and terminology of Sufism, and who cannot achieve it, it has nothing to do with Sufism. Even if he remembers all the terms of Sufism, he plays all the rituals of Sufism, even if he considers himself a Sufi. The main purpose of Sufism is to refrain from the forbidden rules of the Sharīʿah, and to keep the desires of the Sharīʿah and to keep away from the desires of self and adopt Islam's favorite code of conduct. In the Qurʾān human essence is rapidly deteriorating, and degenerative. It has been described as Nafs Amara (نفس اماره), or Amarah bis-sū’ (اماره بالسوء) (the ruler of the evil) but when this essence is purified from these products and qualities, it is called Nafs Mutamai’nah (نفس مطمئنه) (self-satisfaction). Sufism is actually a practical thing. It is an art that comes from practicing, and it requires a lot of knowledge on how to do these exercises and how to achieve these goals.

Human’s two biggest enemies

Human being has two major enemies. First human being has its own Nafs, which invites man to destruction and enjoyment. The human Nafs wants to have fun, enjoyment and luxury life. It is the enemy of man who lives inside the human being. This is the main cause of the destruction of man. If a person kills it or gets under control, he attains the highest status of Sufism and attains cognition. The old Sufi gentlemen killed the Nafs. If this enemy of man becomes a friend then this man enjoys the worship of Allāh Almighty, man begins to enjoy worship, worship becomes the habit of man and he begins to feel pleasure. Worship becomes his desire. Second enemy of human beings is the Old Nick (Satan). This enemy is the external enemy of man. Satan's own tactics are very weak. About Satan's tactics or weakness Almighty Allāh says in the Qurʾān:

ان کید الشیطن کان ضعیفا9 No doubt, the guile of Satan is weak.

Satan destroys man by taking Nafs along with him. The worship of Allāh Almighty will be neglected and his hereafter will also be ruined. Satan uses the human Nafs to destroy human beings. Weapons such as Taṣawwuf or Sulūk are needed to control or kill own bad self (Nafs). Mysticism and Sufism are weapons and company of Sufis and spiritual guides have to take to achieve them, and they would learn lessons from Taṣawwuf or Sulūk, to improve their lives and their self-control.


Nafs is an Arabic word, derived from “Nafasat” means refinement or exquisiteness, because of its civility and elegance, or it is derived from “Tanaffs” means Breathing, because of its inevitable process of ingress and egress. The nafs and soul is same thing. These are two names of same thing.

و من اظلم ممن افترٰی علی اللٰه  کذبا او قال اوحی  الی  و لم  یوح  الیه شیءٌ و من قال سانزل مثل ماۤ  انزل اللٰه ؕ و لو ترٰۤی  اذ الظٰلمون فی غمرٰت الموت و الملٰئکة باسطوا  ایدیهم اخرجوا انفسکم ؕ الیوم تجزون عذاب الهون بما کنتم تقولون علی اللٰه غیر الحق و کنتم عن اٰیٰته تستکبرون.10

Who is more unjust than the one who fabricates a lie against Allāh or says, “Revelation has been sent to me”, whereas no revelation has been sent to him, and the one who says, “I would produce the like of what Allāh has revealed.” If only you could witness when the unjust are in the throes of death, and the angels stretch their hands (and say), “Out with your souls. Today, you shall have your punishment, a punishment of humiliation, because you have been saying about Allāh what is not true, and have been showing arrogance against His verses.”

الله یتوفی الانفس حین موتها و التی لم تمت فی منامها فیمسک التی قضی علیها الموت و یرسل الاخری  الی اجل مسمیؕ ان فی ذلک لایت  لقوم  یتفکرون11

Allāh fully takes away the souls (of the people) at the time of their death, and (of) those who do not die, in their sleep. Then He withholds those on whom He had decreed death, and sends others back, up to an appointed term. Surely, in this, there are signs for a people who ponder.

عن عبد الله بن أبي قتادة عن أبيه قال: سرنا مع النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم ليلة فقال بعض القوم: لو عرست بنا يا رسول الله، قال:  أخاف أن تناموا عن الصلاة قال بلالٌ: أنا أوقظكم فاضطجعوا وأسند بلال ظهره إلى راحلته فغلبته عيناه فنام، فاستيقظ النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم وقد طلع حاجب الشمس، فقال: يا بلال أين ما قلت؟ قال: ما ألقيت علي نومة مثلها قط قال: إن الله قبض أرواحكم حين شاء وردها عليكم حين شاء يا بلال، قم فأذن بالناس بالصلاة فتوضأ، فلما ارتفعت الشمس وابياضت قام فصلى12

Narrated Ḥazrat ʿAbdullah bin Abī Qatada: My father said, one night we were traveling with the Prophet (ﷺ) and some people said, "We wish that Allāh's Prophet (ﷺ) would take a rest along with us during the last hours of the night.' He said, 'I am afraid that you will sleep and miss the (Fajr) prayer." Bilal (رضي الله عنہ) (580-640) said, "I will make you get up." So all slept and Bilal (رضي الله عنہ) rested his back against his Rahila and he too was overwhelmed (by sleep) and slept. The Prophet (ﷺ) got up when the edge of the sun had risen and said, "O Bilal! What about your statement?" He replied, "I have never slept such a sleep." The Prophet (ﷺ) said, "Allāh captured your souls when He wished, and released them when He wished. O Bilal! Get up and pronounce the Adhan for the prayer." The Prophet (ﷺ) performed ablution and when the sun came up and became bright, he stood up and prayed. In these two verses Nafs is used as Ruh (Soul).

Types of human actions

There are three types of human actions.

The first type: actions that are only related to the outer body of a human being.

The second type: actions that only concern the inner person.

Third: actions that are related to the outward and inward of a human being.

Examples of the first type are food, drink and clothing, etc. these are the actions a human which are performed with his organs. Examples of the second type are actions such as relying on Allāh, fearing, worship and desire of the heart etc. Examples of third type are all actions of worship and good deeds. The outer looks of actions are related to Jurisprudence and inner look is related to Ḥāl (Mysticism).

There are many ways of mentioning and obeying Allāh Almighty, but in our country most of the four series are more famous and known. These four disciplines, namely, Chishtiah, Naqshbandiah, Qādriah and Suhrawardiah, agree and unify that the principle of Sufism is to achieve the desired motive, the desired morals, and the consent of Allāh Almighty and the morals are to be protected from the illusion. The goals and objectives of each of these four series are the same, but the ways to achieve them are all different. All of these are ways of healing of inward of human being. There are many ways to treat such ailments. Three of them are well-known in our country.

1. Ayurvedic Greek Method.

2. The method of allopathic.

3. Homeopathic. All of these are ways of treating physical ailments or outward dieses. Their purpose is the same, but their usage is different. Think of these series as well.

These are the four famous series of Sufism attributed to the elders. Among them are the Naqshbandiah, Qādriah, Chishtiha and Suhrawardiah. The names of these streams are attributed to some of the most famous icons in the series. Well, there are many series, but the most famous are the four. These are the names of the series to which the elders refer.

Khawajah Muʿīnuddīn Chishtī Ajmayrī (1142-1236) in Chashtiah, Shaykh ʿAbdul Qādir Jīlānī (1078-1166) in Qādriah, Shaykh Bahaʾuddīn Naqshbandī (1318-1389) in Naqshbandiah, Shaykh Shahabūddin Suharwardī (1145-1234) in the Suharwardiah.

Sufism is a different and separate world of gentlemen. It is also knowledge and an art. It has its own terms. There are experts in this art and there are students of this art. There are also learners and teachers of this art. To understand this art one has to read and understand its terminology. Gentlemen who object to this art should read it. The existence of this art is neither self-made nor post-production, but it was present before Islam. This art has existed in almost every religion of the world. Its practitioners were present and are present. Islam also encouraged the use of this art in the right direction. The intelligent and intelligent human beings of the world are well aware that there is a strange power inherent in man, which is known as Hypnosis, Telekinesis, Telepathy, Astral projection and yoga etc. These sciences and super powers are also present within human beings. Man can do great things with his mental strength. In this way, even with Sufism, man can keep within himself the purity of morals, and attain spiritual gratification with strength.

The importance of pledge and the need for a spiritual guide

The only purpose of human creation that is stated in the Holy Qurʾān is that we created the jinn and the human beings for our worship only. So every action of man, thought and action, the purpose of this is to worship only Allāh Almighty, but man also misses the purpose of his creation by getting lost in the colors of this world (which are a test for him) and also turning his actions and thoughts towards his Lord or world. Of course he does this because of his "human being" and he cannot be held guilty unless he is instructed by Almighty Allāh. That is why Almighty Allāh created the world through guidance and means from the beginning of this world, and the source of guidance has always been the "human" which is apparently the same as other human beings, but its inwardness is related to Almighty Allāh. This has been the way of Allāh that He started a series of Prophets (عليهم السلام) to guide mankind. Prophets (عليهم السلام) received direct guidance from Allāh and becomes the means and means of transmitting it to others.

ولو جعلنه ملکا لجعلنه رجلا و للبسنا علیهم ما یلبسون 13

And if We had made him an angel, We would have obviously made him a man, and We would have caused them the same confusion they are causing now

Therefore, the source of guidance has always been the Holy Prophet, who appeared in the form of the Prophets (عليهم السلام) before the Holy Prophet (ﷺ), and after the Prophet (ﷺ). How is it possible that since the beginning of life, Allāh Almighty has been constantly directing His servants, but for the last fourteen hundred years He has stopped this process. Some people say that now the only source of guidance is the Qur'an. This series ended on Ḥazrat Muḥammad (ﷺ). In this series, hundreds of millions of prophets (عليهم السلام) were sent. Each prophet continued inward training with the outward training of human beings. It happened that Allāh Almighty had sent a prophet but no book had been sent, but it never happened that only the book had been sent and no prophet had been sent along with it. This underscores the importance of a man. When the sacred system of prophecy was over, the scholars were responsible for the guidance of mankind. Allāh says in the Qurʾān:

وان جاهدک علٰی ان تشرک بی ما لیس لک به علم فلا تطعهما و صاحبهما فی الدنیا معروفا واتبع سبیل من اناب الی ثم  الی مرجعکم فانبئکم بما کنتم تعملون14

"However, if they force you to ascribe partners to Me about whom you (can) have no (source of) knowledge, then do not obey them. Remain with them in this world with due fairness, but follow the way of the one who has turned himself towards Me. Then, towards Me is your return, so I shall tell you what you had been doing."

 Just as Allāh Almighty does everything under a means. Everything is done by means of it. As children are given by Almighty, but by means of the parents they become. It rains the Almighty but the rain becomes from a cloud. In the same way, Almighty Allāh treats the heart. The source is the spiritual guide. In this regard, Allāh says:

صراط الذین انعمت علیهم اهدنا الصراط المستقیم 15

Take us on the straight path, The path of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace.

In Sūrah Fātiḥah we pray five times a day, praying: "O Allāh! Follow us on the path of those to whom you have bestowed your reward. "But they never bother to find and follow these award-winning people, and think that the rewarding group was the Prophets (عليهم السلام) who went from this world and now the rewarding group of Allāh Almighty is eliminated in this world and only the wrathful group remains. Ask Allāh Almighty! If that were the case, when would the Hour come? It is a blessing to be in the presence of this award-winning group that the sky is still raining and the earth is still producing grain. If only the guides had vanished, what justification would have been to cast the spirit into the body and send it into the world? If this world is a testing ground then surely there are leaders and teachers too. The winning group does not just consist of the prophets (عليهم السلام) but Allāh Almighty Himself says concerning this prized group.

The pledge of allegiance means taking the promise. Religious term is to confess your sins and confess your obedience to the elders by hand in the hands of a Prophet, guardian or saint. Under this personal covenant, the outward and inward actions must be corrected and performed according to the Sharīʿah. This agreement is made, which is called pledge (بيعت) in the language of the people of Sufism. The people should be pledged for something of the Sharīʿah that they will carry out. Whether the pledge of whole Sharīʿah is taken or something special.

The Messenger of Allāh (ﷺ) used to pledge allegiance to everyone who entered Islam and they pledged to abandon evil and do good deeds. The pledge of allegiance also has a connotation with its appearance which is called contact (تعلق) or Nisbat in the language of Sufism. It is a spiritual force and moves quietly toward the recipient. There is another name for this spiritual force, called force (قوت عمل). This force does not show its effect unless the beneficiary has the use of force (gain, profit, benefit) or utilization (gain or demand).

Slave’s proper relation with Allāh Almighty is called Nisbat Maʿ Allāh (نسبت مع الله). Proper relation means getting distance from amnesia and protection from sin. This is possible at that time when human heart get lighten with light of Maʿrifat (معرفت). Nafs Amarah (نفس اماره) destroyed and changed in Nafs Mutmaʾinah (نفس مطمئن). In the language of Taṣawwuf word Nisbat (نسبت) is called that quality.16

The Prophet (ﷺ) has sworn allegiance to the Companions (رضي الله عنہم) several times by Almighty Allāh's command. The Prophet (ﷺ) has taken four kinds of allegiance.

1. The Prophet (ﷺ) took oath of allegiance from the people of Madinah Ṭayyibah at the time of treaty of Aqaba. In the beginning of Islam, when some delegates from Madinah came to Makkah and the Prophet (ﷺ) invited them to Islam, the allegiance of those who first called the pledge of Aqaba. This allegiance was pledge on Islam. These people wanted to enter the religion of Islam and expressed contempt for infidelity and polytheism.

2. The allegiance that was taken on the occasion of Al-Ḥudaybiah was taken to remain steadfast against the enemy and to fight the enemy as long as they were alive. It was asked of Salmah b. Akwaʿ (رضي الله عنہ) who was involved in this pledge of allegiance. He answered, (علي الموت) on death means "We will die, but we will not flee." Allāh Almighty liked this process so much that he mentioned it in Holy Qurʾān

ان الذین یبایعونک انما یبایعون اللٰه ؕ ید الله فوق ایدیهم فمن نکث فانما ینکث علی نفسه ومن  اوفی بما عهد علیه الله  فسیؤتیه اجرا عظیما.17

Those who pledge allegiance with you (by placing their hands in your hand) - they, in fact, pledge allegiance with Allāh. Allāh’s hand is over their hands. Then, whoever breaks his pledge breaks it to his own detriment, and whoever fulfils the covenant he has made with Allāh, He will give him a great reward.

At the time of the war of Aḥzāb, when the companions (رضي الله عنہم) were digging a trench, they were reading the poem.نحن الذين بايعوا محمدا على الجهاد ما بقينا أبدا18 We are those who have given the Pledge of allegiances to Muḥammad (ﷺ) for to observe Jihad as long as we live.

3. On the trench day, Prophet (ﷺ) pledged of allegiance to the people on emigration.

عن مجاشع رضي الله عنه قال: أتيت النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم أنا وأخي فقلت: بايعنا على الهجرة فقال: مضت الهجرة لأهلها فقلت: علام تبايعنا قال: على الإسلام والجهاد.19

Narrated Mujāshiʿ (رضي الله عنہ): My brother and I came to the Prophet (ﷺ) and I requested him to take the pledge of allegiance from us for migration. He said, Migration has passed with its people. I asked, for what will you take the pledge of allegiance from us then?   He said, I will take (the pledge) for Islam and Jihad.

4. The Prophet (ﷺ) had sometimes pledged not to commit certain sins. It is narrated from Ḥazrat ʿUbaydah b, Ṣāmit (رضي الله عنہ) (586-655):

عن أبي إدريس الخولاني ‏‏‏‏‏‏قال:‏‏‏‏ سمعت عبادة بن الصامت ‏‏‏‏‏‏قال:‏‏‏‏ بايعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم في رهط، ‏‏‏‏‏‏فقال:‏‏‏‏ أبايعكم على أن لا تشركوا بالله شيئا، ‏‏‏‏‏‏ولا تسرقوا، ‏‏‏‏‏‏ولا تزنوا، ‏‏‏‏‏‏ولا تقتلوا أولادكم، ‏‏‏‏‏‏ولا تأتوا ببهتان تفترونه بين أيديكم وأرجلكم، ‏‏‏‏‏‏ولا تعصوني في معروف، ‏‏‏‏‏‏فمن وفى منكم فأجره على الله، ‏‏‏‏‏‏ومن أصاب من ذلك شيئا فعوقب فيه فهو طهوره،‏‏‏‏ ومن ستره الله فذاك إلى الله، ‏‏‏‏‏‏إن شاء عذبه، ‏‏‏‏‏‏وإن شاء غفر له20 .

It was narrated that Abū Idris Al-Khawlani said: I heard ʿUbadah b. As-Ṣāmit (رضي الله عنہ) say: "I pledged to the Messenger of Allāh (ﷺ)among a group of people, and he said: I accept your pledge that you will not associate anything with Allāh, you will not steal, you will not have unlawful sexual relations, you will not kill you children, you will not utter slander, fabricating from between your hands and feet, and you will not disobey me when commanded with goodness. Whoever fulfills (this pledge), his reward will be with Allāh and whoever commits any of these actions and is punished for it, it will be purification for him. Whoever (commits any of these action then) Allāh conceals him, it is up to Allāh; if He wills He will forgive him, and if He wills, He will punish him."

This pledge is the pledge of allegiance on repentance today. True spiritual guides and Mashāʾikh are entitled to take it from the public.

Until the time of the rightly guided Caliph, every Muslim had a duty to make allegiance to the Caliph. When the Emirate replaced the Khilāfah, the elders began to pledge allegiance to the people for obeying the divine orders. In addition, the rich would also take allegiance to the people when they came to power.

Ḥazrat Abū Bakr Siddīq (573-634) and Ḥazrat ʿAlī (601-661) (رضي الله عنہما) used to pledge allegiance of the Khilafah with this pledge they used to pledge of repentances. The Sufis and the Mashāʾik hhave an authentic pedigree series which reaches these two companions (رضي الله عنہم) of Holy prophet (ﷺ). This proved that allegiance is a circumcision (سنت). By doing so, the duties come alive. The psychic Sufis have described the purpose of pledge as the opposite of the right Sufis and have added wrong purpose in the mind of public. Those who have the right to do so clearly explain the purpose of allegiance (pledge). Neither allegiance is required to discover and perform miracles, nor is it the responsibility of forgiving the criminals on the Day of Judgment. Neither the success of the world, such as getting rid of cases, conquering, success, gaining wealth and gaining fame, etc. are essential. It does not mean that a man's heart is not inclined towards sin at all. He does not even think of sinning it. Worship is done automatically, man does not need to do anything, amulets and hooligans are out of work, all work is done only through prayer, nor is there any distinction between being and being a fanatic. Neither do good dreams have to be seen nor is the punishment of the Hereafter safeguarded. Rather, they make it very clear that the main purpose of the pledge is to follow Allāh Almighty and to please Allāh Almighty.

Maulānā Shāh Fazl-ur-Reḥmān Ganjābādī (1208AH-1313AH) said Maulānā Ashraf ʿAlī Thānawī (1863-1943) that "Mian Ashraf Ali! when I prostrated I have a lot of fun, so much as Allāh took my love, and when I recite, God gives me so much fun that if you find that fun, tear off your clothes and run into the jungle", and said, "When goddess will come to me in paradise, I will say to them, If you want to listen to the Qurʾān then sit down otherwise take your way"21. This is the true love of Sufi saints which they get in worship and have no luck for ordinary human beings. The manifestation of a Sufi may be so weak that even if a mosquito bites him, he may suffer, but his inwardness has taken the rotation of the seven heavens.

This shows that the true spiritual guides and Mashāʾikh have been taking such allegiance since the time of the Prophet’s companions (رضي الله عنہم). This process of elders revolutionized the lives of thousands but also millions. The abandoned evils forever joined the slaves of Allāh Almighty. The love of Allāh Almighty in their hearts was settled. Pledge is also a source of satisfaction to Allāh Almighty and to the hearts of believers because it is the reason for their relationship and relationship with Allāh Almighty.

The allegiance, which is the meaning of the pledge within yourself, is to be recited by the Shaykh. In which he sold himself as a disciple of the Shaykh for obeying the orders. The fact that the student has full faith in his Shaykh and complete confidence that it is my goodwill who advises him will be of great benefit to me. Be fully satisfied with it. Do not interfere with its proposal and evaluation. So believe that there is no one else in the world who is searching for me and seeking me. This term is called unity (وصل) in Sufism. Without it, allegiance is not profitable. Because correction is the prerequisite of the Shaykh for the self, and the recognition of the suit is that it does not object to the dignity and the function and the present in the heart. If an object comes into the heart, it is unhappy, and feels dizzy. In the case of allegiance to the people, however, there is profit. The allegiance brings a greatness and glory to the heart of the Shaykh. The effect of this is that he becomes compelled to act upon it by realizing its point of view. After some period of allegiance for the properties, the allegiance comes to fruition. Allegiance creates a sincere and unifying relationship. The Shaykh starts to understand that it is ours and we feel that he belongs to us. The wingspan does not remain.

Some ignorant and sophisticated Sufis, heresy-minded and misguided followers have entered into Sufism many innovations and non-Sharīʿah sayings. Being overwhelmed with the self, attracted people to the wrong things. As a result, people became dispersed and some scholars and researchers began to oppose Sufism. The fact is that they are absolutely truthful and right in their words and position. As such, many Muslims have defamed Islam and Muslims by committing blasphemy, plundering, cheating, deception, robbery, dishonesty, innovation and murder. Yet all these flaws and evils are in the working Muslims. It does not mean that these flaws are in Islam. Likewise some errors are in such misguided Sufis, not in Sufism and in Taṣawwuf.

The rational argument for pledge

Every human being can understand that no knowledge can be acquired without a teacher. Everything has to be learned from someone else. Every type of knowledge and every job requires a teacher. Just as a man cannot do anything by himself in worldly affairs, he has to learn from someone. No small machine can run unless one learns. No man can dress for himself. It requires learning from a teacher. In the same way, inward correction requires a perfect spiritual guide and Shaykh. Such as a student writing answers to questions at a testing center. He writes all the answers correctly in his thoughts and mind. When his paper comes to a teacher to check it out, he makes some mistakes. The student also agrees that some of the answers will be inaccurate. You cannot even learn knowledge of cognition like this. If one keeps trying and praying for himself, he can become a worshiper, but he will need a perfect spiritual guide to become a knower of Sufism. Imam Malik (711-795) and Imam Abū Ḥanīfah (699-767), received favors from Imam Jaʿfar Ṣādiq (702-765). Imam Abū Hanīfah learnt for two years. Then said:لولا السنتان لهلک النعمان If it had not been for two years, Nuʿmān (Imam Abū Hanīfah) would had been killed.

Imam Aḥmad b. Ḥambal (780-855) used to attend the meetings of Bishr Ḥāfī (767-850). This was strange to his disciples. Finally one day, they asked, "you are such a great scholar and you go to a person who is not even a scholar. On hearing this, he replied "I am the scholar of the book of Allāh Almighty and he is the scholar of Allāh. Scholar of Allāh has preference on scholar of the book". Ḥassan Baṣrī (642-728) acquired outward knowledge from 18 Badri companions (رضي الله عنہم) and learned inward knowledge from Ḥazrat ʿAlī. Imām Ghazālī's (1058-1111) spiritual guide was Khawajah Bū ʿAlī, who was the Shaykh of the Naqshbandī series. The spiritual guide of Imām Rāzī (1149-1210) was Najmuddīn Kubra (1145-1221). Maulānā Rūm's (1207-1273) spiritual guide was Shams Tabrayz (1185-1248). Maulānā Jamī's (1414-1492) spiritual guide was Khawajah ʿUbaydullāh Aḥrar Samarkandī (1404-1490) etc. These past scholars are considered to be the great scholars of the Ummah. They pledged allegiance to the seeker for the outward knowledge and the inward correction and Sufism. The importance of pledge and the need for a spiritual guide can be gauged from the above text.

Be compared to one spiritual guide at a time

It is well-understood by every intelligent man that a patient should take only one doctors prescribed medication at a time. If using two doctors’ medicines at the same time, then the benefits will be reversed instead. Human is the name of the combination of two things, namely, soul and body. Just as the body suffers ailments, so does the soul. Treat the body ailments. There are also different ways of treating the body, such as homeopathic, allopathic and Greek. In the same way there are spiritual guides for the cure of spirits, who cure the diseases of the soul. Like diseases of the body, there are different methods of the diseases of the soul. These are known as series (سلسله) in the language of Sufism. Likewise, only one spiritual guide should be associated at the same time for the treatment of spiritual ailments. Otherwise, the place of profit will have to suffer. There is also a risk of loss when the patient is taking any of his own medicine, in addition to the doctors prescribed medication, just as if a patient took any other scholarship other than his or her spiritual guide's uniform and benefits. There is a strong possibility, however, that the benefits which are justified by the Messenger of Allāh Almighty (ﷺ) are exempt. There is nothing wrong with doing these benefits. Just as a doctor's prescribed medicine does not work for a long time, even if the doctor does not benefit. If the patient does not benefit from changing the medication, he goes to another doctor for treatment. In the same way, if one does not benefit from one spiritual guide, he may pledge allegiance to another spiritual guide with the permission of his spiritual guide in his heart or while pledging allegiance to a spiritual guide, his advice may also be pledged to another spiritual guide or take lessons from him. If the rest benefit from a spiritual guide, stay connected to him for the rest of his life. If the spiritual guide dies, he performs reward for it, so that he may have a spiritual connection and may pledge allegiance to another spiritual guide.

Role of company in human character

It is an acknowledged fact that nothing else is involved as much as the involvement of company and meeting in the fabrication and destruction of human nature. Whoever attains any perfection gets it in the company of some perfect persons. Not everyone is obligated to pledge allegiance, as there are many gentle natures that they are automatically inclined towards goodness and follow the path of goodness. There is no problem if humans with such natures do not pledge allegiance but ordinary human nature is not like that. This makes it very important for them to make pledge allegiance.

عن أبي هريرة قال:‏‏‏‏ قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم:‏‏‏‏ الرجل على دين خليله ‏‏‏‏‏‏فلينظر أحدكم من يخالل22

Ḥazrat Abū Hurairah (رضي الله عنہ) narrated that the Messenger of Allāh (ﷺ) said: A man is upon the religion of his friend, so let one of you look at whom he befriends.

It has been warned in the Hadīth that it is effective within common friendship; the teacher, the Shaykh and the spiritual guide have high affections. It has some effects. It is common observation that the more love and devotion it has, the more it affects one's company. Therefore, a human being should work wisely for the selection of a Shaykh and a spiritual guide and make a perfect guardian or a spiritual guide as his spiritual guide. Hard work and exertion are essential after spiritual guide. This is not just a matter of mysticism, but it is necessary to work hard to achieve perfection in everything. There is no achievement without effort and hard work. Like all the rest, this work must be done in a moderate way.

With the blessings of pledge, the man can be companion of Almighty Allāh’s favorite persons, which has a good effect on a man. The saying goes that companionship must have an impact, as the company so the color. In fact, one's own actions are corrected by being connected to good persons and because of this, Almighty Allāh gives man the honor. Pledge has a positive effect on the actions of human being. Company certainly has an effect. Allāh Almighty says in Qurʾān:

یایها الذین امنوا اتقوا الله وابتغوا الیه الوسیلة وجاهدوا فی سبیله  لعلکم  تفلحون23

O you who have believe, fear Allāh and seek the means of nearness to Him and carry out Jihad in His way, so that you may succeed.

Ibn Kathīr (1300-1373) says in the interpretation of this Ayah

الوسيلة هي التي يتوصل بها إلي تحصيل المقصود

Al Wasīlahh means that thing which helps to reach the destination. 24

یایها الذین امنوا اتقوا الله و کونوا مع الصدقین25

O you, who have believe fear Allāh and be in the company of the truthful.

The researchers of interpretation say Significance of Al-Wasīlah (الوسيلہ) is the reason of the nearness of Allāh Almighty and correction of human being. In وجاهدوا فی سبیله  is the point for struggle in the opposition of Nafs (self).26

Here is an example from the Hadīth.

عن عمرو بن مالك الجنبي‏‏‏‏ أن فضالة بن عبيد حدثه‏‏‏‏ أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم‏‏‏‏ قال:‏‏‏‏ المؤمن من أمنه الناس على أموالهم وأنفسهم،‏‏‏‏ والمهاجر من هجر الخطايا والذنوب .27

Fadalah bin ‘Ubaid (رضي الله عنہ) narrated that the Prophet (ﷺ) said:“The believer is the one from whom their (people’s) wealth and lives are safe, and the Muhajir is the one who forsakes mistakes and sins.”

عن حنظلة الأسيدي قال وكان من كتاب رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال لقيني أبو بكر فقال كيف أنت يا حنظلة قال قلت نافق حنظلة قال سبحان الله ما تقول قال قلت نكون عند رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يذكرنا بالنار والجنة حتى كأنا رأي عين فإذا خرجنا من عند رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم عافسنا الأزواج والأولاد والضيعات فنسينا كثيرا قال أبو بكر فوالله إنا لنلقى مثل هذا فانطلقت أنا وأبو بكر حتى دخلنا على رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قلت نافق حنظلة يا رسول الله فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وما ذاك قلت يا رسول الله نكون عندك تذكرنا بالنار والجنة حتى كأنا رأي عين فإذا خرجنا من عندك عافسنا الأزواج والأولاد والضيعات نسينا كثيرا فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم والذي نفسي بيده إن لو تدومون على ما تكونون عندي وفي الذكر لصافحتكم الملائكة على فرشكم وفي طرقكم ولكن يا حنظلة ساعة وساعة ثلاث مرات.28

Ḥanẓalah Usaydī (رضي الله عنہ) (Died 624 AD), who was amongst the scribes of Allāh's Messenger (ﷺ). reported: I met Abū Bakr (رضي الله عنہ). He said: How are you? He (Hanzala (رضي الله عنہ) said: Hanzala has turned to be a hypocrite. He (Abū Bakr (رضي الله عنہ) said: Subḥānallāh, what are you saying? Thereupon he said: I say that when we are in the company of Allāh's Messenger (‌ﷺ) we ponder over Hell-Fire and Paradise as if we are seeing them with our very eyes and when we are away from Allāh's Messenger (ﷺ) we attend to our wives, our children, our business; most of these things (pertaining to After-life) slip out of our minds. Abū Bakr (رضي الله عنہ) said: By Allāh, I also experience the same. So I and Abū Bakr (رضي الله عنہ) went to Allāh's Messenger (‌ﷺ) and said to him: Allāh's Messenger, Ḥanẓalah has turned to be a hypocrite. Thereupon Allāh's Messenger (ﷺ) said: What has happened to you? I said: Allāh's Messenger, when we are in your company, we are reminded of Hell-Fire and Paradise as if we are seeing them with our own eyes, but whenever we go away from you and attend to our wives, children and business, much of these things go out of our minds. Thereupon Allāh's Messenger (ﷺ‌) said: By Him in Whose Hand is my life, if your state of mind remains the same as it is in my presence and you are always busy in remembrance (of Allāh), the Angels will shake hands with you in your beds and in your paths but, Ḥanẓalah, time should be devoted (to the worldly affairs) and time (should be devoted to prayer and meditation). He (the Holy Prophet (ﷺ)) said this thrice.

Morals of true Ṣufī or spiritual guide

Some of these morals are found in true Sufis.

1. To think yourself inferior, it’s antonym is arrogance.

2. Tolerate and be kind to creature.

3. dealing with gentle and happy space, avoid anger and infuriation.

4. Put others first.

5. To be generous, to deal graciously and to forgive sins.

6. Have a soft side.

7. Avoid isolation and inconvenience.

8. Obedience to the Sharīʿah in morals and deeds.

9. Be self-conscious, engage in worship and engage in remembrance and thought.

10. Avoid extravagance and avoid shortages in spending.

11. Trust in Allāh Almighty.

12. Be a less satisfying.

13. Adoption of godliness.

14. Avoid conflicts or quarrels and fights, without any right.

15. Do not is jealous, vindictiveness or enmity.

16. Don't want wealth, property and rank.

17. Keeping the promise.

18. Act with kindness.

19. Doing wisely.

20. To be in harmony with and love of the brothers, and to be separate from the strangers.

21. Thanks to benefactor.

22. Using rank for the benefit of the Muslims.

23. Making the appearance visibly decent.29

Some extremist and even ignorant people, who are unaware of the reality of Taṣawwuf, accept Taṣawwuf as something outside the Sharīʿah or the product of Jews, Christians, Hindus and Buddhists. Even though it is their own little knowledge and ignorance, which cannot be blamed on Taṣawwuf or Sulūk. Some people who have thought about themselves the distinction of being the best of the people, so they also hate Taṣawwuf and the people of Sufism, but the truth is something else.


  1. To reject Sufism is wrong. Sufism should not be called false because of the involvement of some wrong people.
  2. Pledge is not a duty or obligatory act but is Sunnah and is a good deed.
  3. It is not necessary to have allegiance for every person. Gentle nature is independent of it.
  4. Sufism should not be called bad or wrong because of ignorant and psychic Sufis.


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  2. Pīr Zulfiqār Aḥmed, Naqshbandī, Maulānā, Gunāhon say Taubah Kījiyay, Print 18th , Faiṣalabād, Maktabat al-Faqīr, 2014.
  3. Allāh Yār khan, Maulānā, Taṣawwuf, Dalāʾil-al-Sulūk by Abū Ṭalḥa, English, page8, Munara, Chakwāl, Idārah-e-Naqashbandiah Owaysiah Dār al-ʿIrfān, 1996.
  4. Bukhārī, Muḥammad b. Ismaʿīl, Saḥīḥ Bukhārī, Chapter, Asking Gabriel about faith, Islam, Iḥsān and Hour, Hadīths No: 50.
  5. Al-Anʿām 6: 120.
  6. Bukhārī, Muḥammad b. Ismāʿīl, Ṣaḥīḥ Bukhārī, Chapter, Allāh Almighty says in Sūrah Al-ʿImrān, Hadīth No: 7405.
  7. Muslim, Muslim b. Ḥajjāj b. Muslim Al-Qushayrī, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, Chapter, Errant and Forcible will enter in Hell and weak people will enter in Paradise, Hadīths No: 7190.
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  9. Al-Nisaʾ 4: 76
  10. Al-Anʾām, 6: 93
  11. Al-ZumAr, 39:42
  12. Bukhārī, Muḥammad b. Ismāʾīl, Ṣaḥīḥ Bukhārī, Chapter, After passing time of prayer Adhān for prayer, Hadīth No: 595
  13. Al-Anʿām 6: 9
  14. Luqmān 31:15
  15. Fātiḥah 1: 5,6
  16. Malang, Iḥsan al-Karīm, Naqshbandī, Maulānā, Bayʾat kī Zaūrat- o-Fazīlat, Page 179, Akora Khatak, Charsada, Farūqī Kutub khānah 2014.
  17. Al-Fatḥ 48:10
  18. Bukhārī, Muḥammad b. Ismāʾīl, Ṣaḥīh Bukhārī, Chapter, War of Trench (Aḥzāb), Hadīths No: 4099
  19. Bukhārī, Muḥammad b. Ismāʿīl, Ṣaḥīh Bukhārī, Chapter , Pledge on do not flee from war or Pledge on death, Hadīths No: 2962
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  23. Al-Maʾida 5: 35
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  25. Al-Taubah 9: 119
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