On Accusations Levelled against People of Tasawwuf

Answered by Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him)

The people of tasawwuf have gained a reputation for being far removed from reality. It seems that they are not concerned about the state of the Muslims. People are being killed in a number of places, but we do not see the people of tasawwuf involved in the fighting, whereas we see a good number of other Islamic movements participating. What do you say about this?

It is the duty of all sincere and truthful Muslims at all times to keep away from places where dubious things and dissension are taking place. As for the issue of fighting, we say: show us fighting that is taking place today between believing Muslims—whose only objective is for the Word of Allah to be transcendent[1]—and between disbelieving people who are preventing them from establishing the Sacred Law of Allah the Exalted. Where can they be found? If you find it then you will see who will race to it and who will be in the front ranks. It is not for anyone whose head is filled with worldly motives to claim that he is making jihad for the sake of Allah.

Has the struggle for political power turned into jihad in your view? As the hadith states: “When two Muslims clash with their swords, then both the killer and the one killed are in the Fire.”

The best thing for a Muslim is not to be present when this takes place. In fact, it is praiseworthy for him not to be present! The killer and the one killed will end up in the Fire and you are asking: “Why are you not participating?” The answer is, because I do not like the Fire. If you like the Fire, then by all means participate.

We hear the Prophet ﷺ saying to us: “There will be times of dissension during which the one who is sitting is better than the one who is standing; the one who is standing is better than the one who is walking, and the one who is walking is better than the one who is running.”[2] Now people are saying that the one running is better than the one walking; the one walking is better than the one standing, and the one standing is better than the one sitting. We say to them that they have got things the wrong way round. The statement of the Prophet is correct and your statement and understanding are wrong.

Do you want the best people to be in the worst category? The pious people and the people of tasawwuf always know what is the best and most appropriate stance. In whatever situation they are in, you will find them taking that stance.

Today people are fighting each other on the basis of different ideologies and false judgments which have no basis in the Sacred Law. They are fighting each other with egotistical motives for worldly gains. So if you like the Fire, go and fight on either side. Leave those who do not like the Fire and fear it. They look for the best place in which to sit just as the Prophet guided them to do so.

As for the issue of reputation, it is not the way of the people who are truthful with Allah, nor for the people of tasawwuf, to seek fame or reputation. It never crosses their minds what their reputation is among people. They seek status in the sight of Allah. They do not care what people say. Someone who wishes to be known and loves fame is not truthful with Allah. Ignore what people say and think and seek, along with the pious people, status with the Lord of people. Allah is enough for us and He is the best One in whom we place our trust.


[1] This is the definition the Prophet gave of true jihad in the hadith narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim.

[2] Meaning that the less actively involved a person is, the better.