Tariqat: Ahl-e-Tassawwuf

'Awarifu-l-Ma'arif of Shaykh Shahbuddin Suhrawardi (RA)

During the time of the Prophet, forty-five men of Makkah joined themselves to as many others of Madinah; took an oath of fidelity to the doctrines of the Prophet; and formed a fraternity - to establish community of property, and to perform daily certain religious practices by way of penitence.

They took the name of Sufi, a word derived from

  • Suf: wool, woolly; a hair cloth used by penitents in the early days of Islam.
  • Sufiy: wise, pious.
  • Sufi: woollen.
  • Safa: purity.
  • Safi: pure.

To the name of Sufi, the added the title of fakir, because they renounced the chattels of the worlds and its joys. Said the Prophet:

Al fakhru fakhri (poverty is my glory)

The term Sufi was first adopted by Abu Hashim, a Syrian Zahid (d. 780 AD); in his time was built the first convent. But some say the seed of the Sufism:-

was sown in the time of Adam began to develop in the time of Musa
germed in the of Nuh reached maturity in the time of Christ
budded in the time of Ibrahim produced pure wine in the time of Muhammad

In Sufism are four stages, which must be passed before man's corporeal veil can be removed; and his emancipated soul, mixed with the glourious Essence, whence it has been separated but not divided:

  1. Shari'at The murid (disciple) observeth the shar' and the rites of Islam ; ever beareth his shaikh in mind; in him effaceth himself through meditation; maketh him his shield against evil thoughts; and regardeth his spirit as his guardian spirit.
    This is " effacement in the shaikh."
  2. Tariqat The murid attaineth power; entereth sufi.ism; and abandoneth the observance of religious form, exchanging outward for inward worship. Without great piety, virtue, and fortitude (based on a knowledge of the dignity of the soui of man) he cannot attain this stage. The shaikh passeth the murid to the influence of the Pir (long since deceased); and then, in all things, the murid seeth the Pir.
    This is "efiacement in the Pir."
  3. Ma'rifat The murid hath attained to supernatural knowledge; and is, therein, equal to the angels. By the shaikh, he is led to Muhammad, whom, in all things, he seeth.
    This is "effacement in the Prophet."
  4. Haqiqat The murid hath become joined to truth (God), whom, in all things, he seeth.
    This is "effacement in God."

Many reach the second stage, few the fourth.


Columns Percepts Principles  Result
توبه  - repentance علم - knowledge احسان - benevolence معرفت - divine knowledge
تسليم - resignation سخاوت - generosity ذكر - repetitions of Names حلم - meekness
ديانت - fidelity to the Order قرب - nearness to Allah ترك معاصي - abandoning sin صبر - patience
خشوع و خضوع - humility دين - faith ترك دنيا - abandoning the world طاعت - submission
رضا - contentment تفكر - meditation خوف خدا - fear of Allah ادب - manner
خلوت - retirement توكل - reliance on Allah عشق خدا - love for Allah صوق - sincerity

After His prophets, God esteemeth none more than thesufi; because his desire is (through divine grace) to raise himself from this earthly house to the heavenly; and to exchange his lowly condition for the condition of the angel.

The accomplished are :—

the hukama men of wisdom. „
'ulama „ knowledge.

These seek truth-----the first by demonstration; the second by religion.

In this path to (God), are many dangers.

For false teachers and deceived seekers vainly pursue the desert vapour: and wearied return, the dupe of their own imagination.

The murshid-i-kamil va kamal (the perfect and excellent murshid) is rare. When he exists, to discover him is impossible.

Perfection, who shall discover, save he who is perfect ?
The jewel's price, who shall tell, save the jeweller ?

Hence, many miss the Path and fall into error. Deceived by appearances, they waste life in pursuit of defect, conceiving it to be perfection.

Neither austerity nor devotion can exclude shaitan who seeketh Zahids in the garb of religion. The only tilism whereby the good can be distinguished from the bad is ma'rifat.