Spiritual Lineage of the Tariqas

Sincerity%20Tatton%20Red%20RugIn Sufism, as in hadith studies, there exists a lineage that connects each disciple with their shaykh, who has also taken it from his shaykh, and so on, in a continous chain back to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace). The spiritual lineage of my own teacher, Shaykh Asad Madani, comes from its prophetic origin through a number of tariqas. The main ones are given below: Continue reading →


No Gain Without Pain

mathnawiTo show that there is no gain without pain in the path Mawlana Rumi tells us the following tale in his ‘Mathnawi’:

The strong men of Qazwin were accustomed to have themselves tattooed. One customer calls for a lion to be emblazoned on his shoulder. The tattooist starts work on the lion’s tale; but the pain is too much for the customer who insists that the tale be left out. The same happens when the tattooist begins to draw an ear and again with the lion’s belly. Enraged, the artist flings down the needle: ‘Whoever saw a lion without a tale, ear and belly? Allah Himself never created such a lion.’ 

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Sufism: Distinguishing the Kernel from the Shell

sufism Any sane person would agree that having upright good-moral character is an objective of Islamic Law; that Ikhlas (sincerity) is a noble trait; that jealousy and pride are blameworthy characteristics. All and sundry would agree that ridding oneself of blameworthy traits and adorning oneself with praiseworthy traits are Shariah-countenanced aims. Yet the moment the word Sufism, Tasawwuf or any other of its synonyms is mentioned it becomes a bidah or reprehensible innovation.

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Ibn Ataillah’s Aphorisms on Sincerity with explanatory notes by Shaykh Abdullah Gangohi

Works are like lifeless forms and the presence of sincerity endows them with spirit.

Works, like ritual prayers, fasting and hajj without sincerity are like lifeless forms. They are like pictures of animate beings and the presence of sincerity therein endows them with life. Sincerity means to perform works solely for the pleasure of Allah. The presence of sincerity renders the work fruitful in the hereafter, and its absence renders it fruitless. Continue reading →

Ibn Ataillah’s Hikam with explanatory notes by Shaykh Abdullah Gangohi

How can the heart be illumined whilst images are reflected in its mirror? How can it travel to Allah, whilst it is still shackled with the fetters of desire? How can it hope to enter Allah’s presence whilst it has not purified itself of forgetfulness? How can it hope to understand subtle secrets whilst it has not refrained from offensive acts?  

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Shah Waliullah: The Objective, Benefit and Pre-requisites of the Pledge

Perhaps you might say tell me about the Pledge (bay’ah)

(1) Is it obligatory or Sunnah? (2) What is the wisdom behind its legislation in Sacred Law? (3) What are the pre-requisites of the shaykh? (4) What are the conditions of one who takes the pledge? (5) How does one fulfil the pledge, and how does one violate it? (6) Is it permissible to repeat the pledge with one scholar or multiple scholars? (7) What are the transmitted words of the pledge?

So I say: Continue reading →