Famous Muslims Who Were Sufis

 This is another article in the chapter Sufism from the classical manual on Sharia called Reliance of the Traveller. The articles are posted one by one in the order they are given in the book.

w9.4 (n:) As for the meaning of proving true, its sheikhs say that Sufism is not a fixity on a particular type of worship, but rather the attachment of the heart to Allah Most High, mere honesty therein demanding that whenever something is preferred by the standards of the Sacred Law for someone in one’s circumstances, one does it. This is why we find that Sufis have served Islam in a wide variety of capacities. Many of the scholars cited throughout the present volume, for example, also had the higher education of Sufism, among them Imam Muhammad Amin Ibn ‘Abidin, Sheikh aHslam Zakariyya Ansari, Muhammad Abul Mawahib, Sheikh Ibrahim Bajuri, Muhammad Sa’id Burhani, ‘Abd al-Wakil Durubi, Imam Ghazali, Muhammad Hamid, Imam Abu Hanifa, Sheikh Muhammad Hashimi, Imam Ibn Hajar Haytami, Ibn ‘Ajiba, Ibn ‘Ata’ lilah, Imam ‘Izz ibn· ‘Abd ai-Salam, the author of our basic text Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri, Muhammad ‘Abdullah Jurdani, Muhammad Amin Kurdi, Imam Malik, ‘Abd alRa’uf Munawi, Zayn ai-Din Mallibari, Yusuf Nabahani, ‘Abd al-Ghani Nabulsi, Khalil Nahlawi, Imam Nawawi, ‘Abd al-Wahhab Sha’rani, Imam Taqi al-Din Subki, Jalal ai-Din Suyuti, Hakim Tirmidhi, and others.

Among the Sufis who aided Islam with sword as well as pen, according to B.G. Martin’s Muslim Brotherhoods in Nineteenth Century Africa (y86), are such men as the Naqshbandi sheikh Shamil Daghestani, who fought a prolonged war against the Russians in the Caucasus in the nineteenth century; Sayyid Muhammad’ Abdullah ai-Somali, a sheikh of the Salihiyya order who led Muslims against the British and Italians in Somalia from 1899 to 1920; the Qadiri sheikh ‘Uthman ibn Fodi, who led jihad in Northern Nigeria from 1804 to 1808 to establish Islamic rule; the Qadiri sheikh ‘Abd ai-Qadir al-Jaza’iri, who led the Algerians against the French from 1832 to 1847; the Darqawi faqir ai-Hajj Muhammad al-Ahrash, who fought the French in Egypt in 1799; the Tijani sheikh aI-Hajj ‘Umar Tal, who led Islamic jihad in Guinea, Senegal, and Mali from 1852 to 1864; and the Qadiri sheikh Ma’ al-‘ A ynayn al-Qalq ami, who helped marshal Muslim resistance to the French in northern Mauritania and southern Morocco from 1905 to 1909.

Among the Sufis whose missionary work Islamized entire regions are such men as the founder of the Sanusiyya order, Muhammad’ Ali Sanusi, whose efforts and jihad from 1807 to 1859 consolidated Islam as the religion of peoples from the Libyan Desert to sub-Saharan Africa; the Shadhili sheikh Muhammad Ma’ruf and Qadiri sheikh Uways al-Barawi, whose efforts spread Islam westward and inland from the East African Coast; and the hundreds of anonymous Naqshbandi sheikhs who taught and preserved Islam among the peoples of what is now the southern Soviet Union and who still serve the religion there despite official pressure.

It is plain from the example of these and similar men that the attachment of the heart to Allah, which is the main emphasis of Sufism, does not hinder spiritual works of any kind, but may rather provide a real basis for them. And Allah alone gives success.


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